Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Beef Chili With Beans - My Way

If chili has no Tex-Mex flavors, has a decidedly Mediterranean bent, is it still chili?

When I started out with some grass-fed, local ground beef, my intention was to make a traditional chili.  It's football season afterall and chili, cornbread, biscuits and beer are all over the culinary place.

The mirepoix was done and I was gathering the Tex-Mex spices from my pantry ... and paused ...  I'd just made a mirepoix ...  Before I knew it, the Francophile in me took over and the chili powder, dried oregano, chipotle pepper flakes, et cetera, all went back onto the pantry shelves.  I'd just made a mirepoix ...  

Of course right then I also changed the corn bread recipe I'd had going on in my head to a Euro-cheesy biscuit that would go with the now-more-Mediterranean-style chili or stew, or ragout, or whatever it was that was beginning to take shape.

It's delicious comfort for cool autumn nights, whether your team wins or not.  Remember to give some time to soaking and cooking the beans.  Like most chilis and stews, this recipe, while delicious the same day, will taste outstanding the next.  You will have to decide for yourselves if it can be called Chili ...

Christine's Beef Chili with Beans - Her Way
Print recipe
Ingredients:
1 cup dried beans (I used a local cranberry bean)
1 bay leaf, dried or fresh
2 medium onions, peeled, chopped fine
3 medium carrots, peeled, diced (1/4-inch pieces)
3 ribs celery, diced (1/4-inch pieces)
6 cloves garlic, peeled, minced
2 Padrón peppers, seeded, minced
2 sweet Italian red peppers, seeded, diced (1/4-inch pieces)
2 lbs lean ground beef
Olive oil for the pan
2 cups tomato sauce (preferrably home made)
2 cups beef broth
A glug or two dry red wine
2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon each cinnamon and allspice (adjust to your taste)
1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil leaves
Preparation:
Soak the beans for at least 4 hours in a large pot filled with water to cover the beans by 4-inches.
Drain beans then fill pot again with fresh water to cover the beans by 2-inches, add the bay leaf and bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat.
Reduce heat to low and simmer until beans are tender.  Drain beans, discarding the bay leaf, and set aside in a warm place.
Meanwhile, prepare your vegetables as stated in the ingredients list and have a large, heavy skillet and a large soup or stew pot at hand.
Heat the skillet over medium-high, add about a tablespoon of olive oil and the onions, carrots and celery and sauté until they have softened - 5-7 minutes.
Add the minced garlic and sauté for 2 minutes.
Stir in the Padróns and the sweet peppers, sauté 1 minute more then pour all of the vegetables into the soup pot and set the heat to medium.
Add a bit more olive oil to the same skillet over medium-high, then crumble in the ground beef.  Allow it to sear for about 5 minutes then stir it up and cook until no pink shows.  Pour the cooked beef into the soup pot then add about 1/4 cup red wine to the skillet, stirring to scrape up the browned bits and pour that into  the soup pot.
Now add the cooked beans to the pot along with the tomato sauce, beef stock, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and the cinnamon and allspice.
Allow all of this to simmer on the stove for 30 to 45 minutes.
Give it a stir, add more salt if needed, and add freshly ground black pepper if desired.
Sprinkle each serving with freshly chopped basil and place a cheese-y buttermilk biscuit along side.







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