Saturday, December 6, 2008

Comfort food: Chili

Oh, it has taken me a LOOONG time to find an honest to goodness chili recipe. For so many years my chili recipe was one handed down from my step-mom, which came from her mom. It wasn't bad by any means. It was a recipe that perfectly fit my step-mom. An "open and dump" recipe. (open the cans and dump them in the pot) The only actual cooking consisted of browning the ground beef. It did contain beans, and it wasn't till we moved to Texas that I learned, REAL chili doesn't have beans.

So the recipe came from Alton Brown with a few minor tweaks. I use my pressure cooker and the meat is fall apart tender.

So first, get your mise together.
3 lbs. stew meat. (I get mine from our local butcher shop.)
Kosher salt/black pepper
Veggie oil
2 12oz bottles of beer
1 16oz (approx) container of chunky salsa
2-3 chipotle peppers chopped up with a tablespoon of the adobo sauce reserved
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
handfull (more or less) corn tortilla chips

First, season the meat lightly with salt and pepper. The meat I usually get from the butcher shop is in rather large pieces so I will usually cut them in half. (more bite size)

Add a little oil to the pressure cooker and heat it up over medium/high heat & brown the meat in batches because THIS Is what you want. Little brown bits of meaty goodness. :) We are going to liberate those little brown bits of meaty goodness from the bottom of the pressure cooker with the good stuff.

Keeping it local with some good Shiner beer from Shiner Texas. This is the Heffenweizen, but the good old origional Shiner Bock works good too. This one just has a nice malt-y flavor. So you are gonna dump in 1 entire bottle and half of the other one. You will need to drink the rest of the bottle you know. It would be sacreligious to let it go to waste....It'll foam up, don't worry. Just get out your wooden spoon and start scraping the pan as it bubbles away. After the bubbling subsides add to the pot your meat, jar of salsa, peppers, adobo, chili, cumin & tomato paste. mix it all up together then take a handful of your tortilla chips and crush them as you add them to the pan. This is what it looks like:

Before your lid goes on. Which brings me to the hardware, ie: your pressure cooker. Make sure you read the instructions before you attempt to use it. Please don't re-paint your kitchen with chili.

Ok, so lid goes on (as per instructions) and you want to raise the heat till the the valve is all the way up (as mine does) or whatever yours does. Then lower the heat just so it maintains the same level, whistle, whatever yours does. Mine looks like this: So it will cook underpressure for about 20 minutes. After which, as per your cooker's instructions release the pressure. (i just push down on the little black button on mine and all the steam escapes. When your pot is de-pressureized you are left with this:
mmmmm..... Chunky, spicy, meaty. yum.

You can adjust the heat level by cutting back on the chipotle peppers. I like spicy chili, my dear husband, the gringo, likes milder chili. So I make it mild for him, them add more pepers for myself later.

Serve alone in a bowl. my family likes cornbread with it. We also do the old Frito Pie with it. This chili will taste better the next day. So make lots and enjoy the left overs. Chili Dogs, Chili burgers, Tamales with Chili.....

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