Championship chili for Christmas ... or any time.
Entrees that are hearty, easy to make in quantity, and just plain good are ideal for holiday parties. Such a dish is this thick, tasty all-meat chili--the specialty of the house for Paula and Ray Fair of Redmond, Washington (see page 79).
The Fairs invite their guests to bring a selection of appetizers and desserts. Accompanied with pinto beans and a choice of condiments, the chili serves 20 to 30, depending on the amount of food guests contribute.
This chili merits the time and attention it requires. It keeps for several days; just reheat to serve. It's also easy to keep warm so guests can help themselves at their own pace.
The mellow flavor comes from the sauce, which is based on mild dried red chilies. Beef chuck, trimmed of bones and most fat, simmers to tenderness in the rich, russet-colored sauce, along with a fragrant blend of herbs and spices, and generous amounts of onion and garlic.
Dried chilies are available in the Mexican food sections of most supermarkets, or in Mexican grocery stores.
Ray Fair's Championship Chili
30 to 35 (6 to 8 oz.) dried red New Mexico or Anaheim (California) chilies
1 1/2 quarts (4 cans, 12-oz. size) beer
15 to 16 pounds bone-in beef chuck
8 large onions, chopped
2 heads (30 to 35 cloves) garlic, minced or pressed
3 tablespoons each chili powder and paprika
2 2/3 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons dry oregano leaves
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 quart regular-strength chicken broth or water
1 can (about 1 lb.) tomato sauce
1/4 cup bourbon whiskey (optional)
Pinto beans (recipe follows)
Condiments (suggestions follow)
Rinse chilies; discard stems and seeds. Combine chilies and beer in a 4-to 5-quart pan. Bring to a boil: cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Whirl chilies and cooking liquid in a food processor or blender until pureed. With a spoon, rub puree through a fine wire strainer (or force chilies through a food mill); discard residue. Reserve puree.
Meanwhile, cut the meat from bones. Trim off and discard bones and most of the fat; cut meat into 1/2-inch cubes.
Place an 8-to 10-quart pan over mediumhigh heat. Add 1/4 cup oil and a fourth of the meat; cook uncovered, stirring frequently, until meat is well browned. Lift meat from pan with a slotted spoon and set aside. Repeat this step until all the meat has been browned.
Add the onions and garlic to the pan. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat, stirring often until onion is limp, about 20 minutes. Add the chili powder, paprika, cumin, oregano, sugar, coriander, cayenne, and allspice. Cook, stirring, 2 minutes; remove from heat.
To the pan add reserved beef and any juices that have accumulated, the chili puree, broth, tomato sauce, and whiskey. Stir the chili to blend ingredients.
Bring the chili to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally; if needed, add water 1/4 cup at a time to prevent sticking. Cook until beef is very tender to bite, about 2 hours. Add salt to taste.
Serve chili from cooking pan or a large tureen. If made ahead, cool, then cover and chill as long as 2 days. To reheat, stir frequently over medium heat until chili is hot, about 20 minutes.
Makes about 5 quarts chili: 20 generous 1-cup-size servings or 30 smaller 2/3-cup-size servings. Ladle chili into individual bowls to top with beans and condiments.
Pinto beans. Sort through 2 pounds dried pinto beans; discard debris. Place beans in a 5-to 6-quart pan; rinse well with several changes of water, then drain. Add 4 quarts water to beans, cover, and bring to a rolling boil; set aside and let stand at least 1 hour or as long as overnight.
Drain beans, discarding liquid. Add 4 quarts water, 1 teaspoon salt, and 2 bay leaves. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat, cover, and simmer until beans are very tender to bite, about 1 hour. Add salt to taste. Drain beans and serve hot. If made ahead, chill beans, covered, in cooking liquid up to 2 days; to serve, bring to simmering and drain.
Makes 2 1/2 to 2 quarts: about 20 servings, 2/3 cup each, or 30 serving, 1/3 cup each.
Condiments. You will need 4 to 5 cups (1 to 1 1/4 lb.) shredded Cheddar cheese, 4 to 6 cups sour cream, and 2 cups (about 24) sliced green onions. Present each in a separate dish to spoon over chili.
Photo: What's the verdict? Tasting determines just-right seasoning of all-meat chili
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|Date:||Dec 1, 1984|
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