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Old 01-12-2007, 06:42 PM   #41
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Well, this is the best one I've made so far. Making a chile sauce is definetly the way to go in my book.

Stem/de-seed the chiles and break them up into a skillet. Roast in a 425F oven until they are warm and fragrant, then dump into a saucier with 3-C of amber ale (two 12oz bottles), 4oz chopped onion, and three crushed cloves of garlic. Simmer for 20-30min, then process in a blender on high for 5min. Press the thick sauce through a fine mesh strainer to remove any bits of chile skin.

This sauce/puree has an incredible depth of flavor along with a medium dose of heat. It doesn't really have any sugar/acid/salt in in though, so don't count on it tasting like chili. It's kinda like starting with a good baking chocolate... great for the recipe, but not something you want to sit down and eat on it's own. It's based off from a few classic Tex-Mex recipes I found. Has lots more flavor than simply adding powdered chiles to a sauce. The viscosity is somewhat like chocolate syrup when it's warm... nice and thick.

I think next time around I would double the bacon to 8oz. I wanted more of it's flavor than I ended up with, and I actually didn't have enough rendered fat to brown the 2lbs of meat.

The meat ended up perfect after 2.5Hrs of braising at 325F.

The yellow onion was finely diced and caramelized in the meat drippings at a medium-low temp. Then the tomato paste was added and pincage'd. Next time I think I would up the amount from 4oz to 6oz. Briefly sweated the bell peppers, then I deglazed the pan with a little bit of beer from a third bottle (then finished it with lunch). Whisked in the chile sauce, spices, and stirred in the meats. The spice ratios worked great for me.

On went the cover and into a 325F oven for 2.5hrs. Removed it once every 45min to thoroughly stir.

When it was finished, I seasoned it with brown sugar, kosher salt, and white vinegar. This dish has very little natural acids/salt, so it really needs to be seasoned properly. The three keys here are proper braising technique (sufficient browning/deglazing/covered simmering), the chile sauce, and proper finishing with the sugar/salt/acid.

The final texture is like a stew more than a soup. It does have some heat (similar to a medium commerical salsa), but the flavors from the chiles linger long after you take a bite - wafting over your palate... nice, earthy, and strong. This would go great with some fried corn tortilla strips (for the texture and flavor). I'm saving the batch until tomorrow so I can re-taste it after 24hrs in the fridge.

I'm 95% happy with this, but still not 100%... something small is still missing...

Have to move on though. I'll return to this again in the future.

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Old 01-12-2007, 06:52 PM   #42
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I want to try making the chile sauce with other liquids mentioned in old recipes. I guess a popular one with old cowboys was to use the canning liquid in canned tomatoes. They would then crush the canned tomatoes into the chili. I'd also like to try using stock, which is recommended by some contemporary Tex-Mex chefs.

Ah heck, maybe I'll do a another batch this week...

I have good feelings about using the "tomato juice" from canned tomatoes for the chile sauce liquid, and then breaking up some of the tomaters into the sauce. I'd like to use some of the natural acids and sugars in the tomatoes rather than adding my own at the end. I still like a little bit of the molasses flavor that the brown sugar brings though.
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Old 01-13-2007, 12:07 AM   #43
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Nick; I'd be tempted to say that you are a true chili-head. With all of the experimenting, and tinkering you do, all to find perfection, it shows that you are a passionate foody. I aplaude your efforts. Myself, I'm still trying to learn how to make a good bread stuffing for turkey. That's my weak point.

I get frustrated up here in the North as the people who judge our own local chili contest don't know anything about good chili. I've tasted the winning batch for three years running and it is flavorless and bland. I had the good fortune to run into some very good chili cooks who compete in more serious events and they really made great chili. And they agreed with me about the judges around these parts. I'm happy to say that each of them love my chili as I did theirs.

I'd love to try your chili. It sounds very good, though much different than my own. I couldn't give you a recipe as I add things, taste, and modify as I go. I can tell you that I like to use fresh peppers as much as are available around here. I'm planting my own this year and hope to have some flavorful varieties.

Good luck in your quest. You will find the magic, though I don't know that any of us ever find perfection.

Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
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Old 01-13-2007, 12:47 PM   #44
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Boy thanks, but I'm a noob when it comes to SouthWest and Tex-Mex cuisine. As I mentioned in my first post, before I started on this I was just the hamburger/onion/tomato sauce/chili powder kinda guy. This really isn't a well represented regional cuisine in my area, nor did I eat it much growing up (except for some ground beef tacos).

Oh I'm passionate all right, but sometimes I feel like a woodpecker trying to peck a hole through the wall of a steel-hulled battleship...

Those fresh peppers sound good, and you haven't even grown 'em yet. Sometimes the fruits/veggies in the supermarkets that have body/strength/color bred into them and flavor bred out just get so depressing.
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After 24hrs in the 'fridge the chili has developed and homogenized it's flavors even more. I did pick up some more chuck and ingredients for one more batch tomorrow, then it's on to other things. Spent a lot of time on Golabkis and Chili as of late. Next on the list to play with will be Osso Buco and Risotto Milanese. Have a nice bag of good Saffron from Penzeys. I'll probably head down to Whole Foods Monday afternoon for the meat.
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Old 01-19-2007, 09:47 AM   #45
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Ok, I have a recipe now that I am quite happy with. Taste testers at work also gave the thumbs up. I can move on with confidence from this now...

Chili
8-oz Minced Bacon
2-lbs Beef Chuck/Round - Small Dice
4-oz Finely Diced Yellow Onion
4-oz Finely Diced Green Bell Pepper
1/2-oz Minced Garlic
4-oz Tomato Paste
12-fl.oz Beer (Medium/Amber)
3-C Chile Sauce*
1-T Mexican Oregano
1-T Cumin Seed - Toasted/Ground
1/2-t Finely Ground Black Peppercorns
Brown Sugar - To Taste
Kosher Salt - To Taste

Chile Sauce (With an "E")
3-C Tomato Water/Juices
5 Ancho Chiles
5 Guajillo Chiles
2 Chipotle Chiles
4oz Onion - Diced
1/2oz Garlic - Crushed

Preheat the oven to 400F. Wearing gloves (important!), remove the stems and seeds from the Anchos, Guajillos, and Chipotles. Snip or tear the chiles into small pieces, place in a 10" skillet, and roast in the oven until they become warm and fragrant. Meanwhile, obtain 3-C of tomato water/juice by straining the fluid from two 28oz cans of whole tomatoes into a bowl. Squeeze the tomatoes in your hands (carefully to avoid squirts!) and remove the pulp. Press the fluid through the mesh strainer leaving behind any seeds or large fibrous pieces. Add the tomato juices along with the toasted chiles, diced onion, and garlic to a medium saucepan and simmer for 20-30min. Allow to cool slightly off the heat. Pour the mixture into a blender and process on high for 5min. Pour the sauce through a mesh sieve, using the back of a spoon to work it through into another bowl. Reserve the chile sauce and discard any bits of skin remaining in the sieve.

Reduce the oven temp to 325F. Place an 8qt pot over medium-high heat and fully render the bacon. Remove the bacon to a bowl, and pour off the fat into a ramekin. Add a tablespoon of the bacon fat back to the pot, increase the temp to high, and brown the beef in batches, using more bacon drippings as needed. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the onion. When they are almost fully caramelized, add the garlic, then the tomato paste. Increase the heat to medium and caramelize the tomato paste. Deglaze the pot with 12fl.oz of beer, and reduce slightly. Add the chile sauce, finely diced bell peppers, spices, and return the beef/bacon pieces to the pot. Cover tightly and braise in the oven for 2.5hrs, stirring every 45min or so.

When the meat is extremely tender, remove the pot and place over low heat. Degrease if necessary. Season with kosher salt and balance the acid of the tomatoes with a bit of brown sugar.

This Chili tastes even better the next day. A bit of the forward heat takes a back seat and actually becomes quite mellow leaving behind a very rich flavor of chiles. The rest of the flavors also homogenize.

I made a batch of fresh corn tortilla strips to serve with mine along with a wedge of iceberg lettuce and drizzle of buttermilk dressing.
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Old 01-22-2007, 12:04 AM   #46
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I've started playing with my chili a bit now as well.

I posted what I considered to be my "ultimate" chili recipe over a year ago. However, I've since made even more "improvements". I realized I wasn't to thrilled about the taste of Budwieser in my chili, even only with 1/2 c of beer in almost 3 qt of chili. Now, a different beer, maybe. But, it will be a "trail" batch, like what Nick is doing.

I've started searing my meat in small batches, on high heat. Once I'm done searing the meat, I strain the meat juices out of the meat, and return the juices back to the pan. I'll cook this until the blood from the meat has coagulated, and turned a nice dark brown. Then, I add the onions, garlic, and seasonings, stir it around a bit, turn the heat down, and cover it. I'll sweat the onions like this until they begin to caramelize a bit. I believe this is the start of a "sofrito" in classic Mexican cooking. Then, I add my liquids.

I haven't started roasting/grinding my own chili powder, yet, but I plan on starting as soon as I can get a spice grinder. I have also come to the realization in the past week that I really ought to get one of those Le Crueset enamelled cast iron Dutch Ovens. I've been simmering at low heat on the stove-top, but have finally realized that what my instructors at Culinary School said is the correct thing, to properly braise something, in the oven it goes!
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Old 01-23-2007, 08:36 PM   #47
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This adds some nice flavor:Amazon.com: Goya Salsita Ancho Chiles Hot Sauce, 8 fl oz: Gourmet Food


And so does this: McCormick - Spice Encyclopedia - Chipotle Chile
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Old 02-12-2007, 09:49 PM   #48
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Black Bean Chocolate Chili

Like Nicholas, I found that unsweetened chocolate really didn't add the flavor I was looking for so I use really dark, but sweetened hard chocolate. I love a bean-less chili like that first one with the picture, but this one is becoming a favorite for it's looks as much as it's taste.
I start the black beans by rinsing and soaking over-night with a little baking soda. That water gets rinsed away and seems to solve most of the gas problem for some reason.
I use as many "real" dried peppers as I can, removing the cap, and slicing diagonally. Shake out the seeds and add them back as needed.
I use stew beef and also put in chunks of pork "fat back" or is it salt pork?(like in Boston Baked beans).
I stand pat on adding tomato, it does not go in my chili.
Mostly, I brown the meat and peppers in a heavy skillet and add to the crockpot of soaked beans.
I'll use beef broth to bring liquid up just above ingredients. I set this up to high to come up to a near boil once before I go to bed, then low until the next day.
After the long, slow cooking, add the chocolate (lots, if you ask me) and stir. Correct for any and all seasonings. You then determine if it needs more cooking or not. I like it really thick and gooey. Don't cook too long after adding the chocolate though, as it can turn bitter.
The beauty of this black, black concoction is highlighted by a dollop of white sour cream. (Garnish with black olive slices or shaved chocolate?)

BTW, there are some GREAT cooks here! I love it.
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Old 10-20-2008, 01:34 AM   #49
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My wife entered me into a chili cook-off and I am going to play around with your recipe, it sounds great! However, where do you get off calling it chili when there's no beans??? :-) Just kidding, it sounds like you put a lot of work/time into perfecting your chili and I am more than willing to use it for my jumping off point.
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