Friday, January 23, 2009

A New (but old) Favorite Chili Recipe

Stephen and I don't like beans - except the green ones. Therefore, finding a chili recipe we like is a little challenging (or we just leave out the beans).

Flashback several years: one of our piano professors in college used to have all of us over for a Christmas party every year and she made VERY YUMMY chili that was made with steak and NO BEANS and served over rice. We enjoyed it very much, but sadly it was forgotten for several years post-college.

Thankfully I had the sense at the time to ask her for the recipe and I rediscovered this recipe a few months ago. Boy, am I glad I did.

The first time I made it, I used venison instead of beef. It was delightful. This week, I made it with beef. Still delightful. It has a little kick which I think I will back down on next time, but we enjoyed it very much.

Plan ahead - it needs to be made the night before or the morning of so it can sit in the fridge awhile.

Joanie's Chili
3 ½ lbs. top round, cut into ½-inch cubes
5 Tbsp oil
2 cups coarsely chopped onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 Tbsp chili powder
1 ½ tsp oregano
1 ½ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp crushed red pepper
2 cups beef broth
1 can (1 lb, 13 oz) whole tomatoes
1 can tomato paste (6 oz)
1 Tbsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1-2 Tbsp yellow cornmeal

Pat the meat dry with paper towels. Heat 3 Tbsp. oil in a large heavy pot. When hot, add the meat all at once. Sear it, turning constantly until all pieces are lightly browned (3-4 minutes). Transfer meat to bowl. Add remaining oil to pot, add onion & garlic, sauté until onion is wilted, not brown. Stir in chili powder, oregano, cumin and crushed red pepper. Mix well to completely coat onions.

Add broth, tomatoes & juice, tomato paste, salt & sugar. Break up tomatoes with back of a spoon. Put the meat back into the pot, cover and simmer for one hour. Uncover and simmer for 40-50 minutes until meat is very tender.

Cool, cover & refrigerate overnight. To serve, bring slowly to a boil, simmer until heated through. If very liquidy, don’t cover pot; if of good consistency, heat covered. When hot, thicken if necessary by adding cornmeal 1 Tbsp at a time. Serve with rice. Offer red pepper flakes for those who want a little more spice in their lives!

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