Polar Bear posted 02-16-99
1/2 lb dried black beans
4 c water (divided)
2 lb boneless beef (or pork, veal, lamb, turkey, chicken, etc.)
1 T peanut oil
4 cl garlic
2 med onions
1 or 2 med dried new mexico chiles
1 med chipolte chile en adobo (finely chopped)
16 oz crushed tomatoes
2 T honey
3 T cumin
1 T cocoa
1-1/2 t salt
1/2 t each: black pepper; oregano
4 oz cheddar or monterey jack (grated) (optional)
1 med onion (chopped) (optional)
1. Pick over beans to remove any stones; rinse in several changes barely lukewarm water. Combine with 3 c water; bring just to a boil; turn off and let stand one hour. Simmer until tender, about 1-1/2 hours; drain. Meanwhile, remove seeds and veins from chiles; bring remaining 1 c water to a boil, pour over chiles and let stand 1 hour; puree in blender.
2. Partially freeze meat and slice thinly into bite-size pieces. Mince garlic and chop onions; saute in oil until tender, about 10 minutes. Add meat and saute over medium-high heat until seared, 3 to 5 minutes.
3. Add chile puree, tomatoes, honey and seasonings. Simmer until beef is tender, about 1 hour (other meats will take less time), adding beans for final 20 minutes. If desired, sprinkle cheese and/or onion over just before serving or pass separately at table.
SLOW COOKER: Beans in Step 1 can be cooked 6 to 8 hours in a medium (preferably 2 qt) cooker. And/or simmer chili 6 to 8 hours in Step 3 in a large (preferably 4 qt) cooker; adding beans about 2 hours before chili finishes cooking (or, slightly undercook beans in
Step 1 and add at beginning of Step 3).
SHORTCUTS: Three 16 oz cans prepared beans, drained, may be substituted for the dried beans. Ground meat may be substituted for the sliced. Pulverized chiles (2 to 3 T) may be sub-stituted for those specified above.
GENERAL: Kidney, pinto or other beans may be substituted for the black beans. Ancho, pasilla, mullato or other dried chiles may be sub-stituted for all or part of the new mexicos; or re-place with 2 med fresh habanero chiles (seeded and finely chopped).
BARBECUE: Replace boneless beef with 1-1/4 lb smoke-cooked beef, pork or other meat (about 2 lb before cooking). Slice 3/4 inch thick across the grain, then shred with fingers or slice thinly with the grain. Saute onions very tender in Step 2, about 15 minutes, don't sear meat (just add to pot with tomatoes, etc.) and add 2 c beef, veal or chicken stock in Step 3 to replace pan juices meat would have added. Take especial care not to boil the dish or the meat may get stringy.
CINCINNATI STYLE: Of all the eccentric chilies in America, this one, reputedly developed by Greek immigrants, particularly fascinates me. Prepare as above, except (i) replace black beans with kidney beans (reserve); (ii) omit chile puree (Step 1); (iii) substitute ground beef for the meat; and (iv) in Step 3, reduce cumin to 2 T and add 2 c strong black coffee, 1 T cayenne, 1 t cinna-mon and 1/2 t each powdered ginger and ground cloves. To serve, cook 1 lb spaghetti al dente in salted boiling water; drain and divide among six wide bowls; ladle chili over. This is 2-way chili. Pass bowls of chopped onion (1 med), grated cheese (1 c) and kidney beans, which each per-son may sprinkle over chili as desired, raising it to 3-, 4- or 5-way, respectively.
PASTA: Cook 4 oz ditali, wagon wheels, spaghetti (broken into 1 inch lengths) or other dried pasta just barely al dente in boiling salted water; drain and cover with cold water. Drain and add to pot for last 5 to 10 minutes of Step 3.
MOLE STYLE: Puree 2 T each raisins, sesame seeds, almonds and peanuts (or peanut butter), and 1/4 t each allspice and cinnamon with chiles at end of Step 1; reduce cumin to 2 T; stir 2 T chopped fresh cilantro into dish at end of Step 3.
TEXAS STYLE: Omit beans, tomatoes and cocoa. Increase meat to 3 lb; slice 1/4 inch thick into bite-size pieces, or grind coarsely; marinate overnight chilled in 1-1/2 c beer; drain (reserve marinade) and sear as above. Use marinade to soften and puree chiles in Step 1. Add 1 T mild paprika (for color) in Step 3.
VEGETABLES: Add 1 med zucchini (quartered and sliced 1/8 inch thick) with the chiles. Roast 1 lg red or yellow bell pepper; peel, seed, cut in 1/2 inch dice and add with the beans.
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