It takes some patience to post a chili recipe in the spring. I was originally going to publish this post three weeks ago when Mother Nature served us up a cold spell, but then my nephew was born and I decided to talk about that instead. Then I thought about posting it early last week when the high was in the upper-30s, but I couldn’t wait to tell you about Banana Chocolate Chip Cake. The last couple of days have been steamy and in the 80s – definitely not chili weather. Now it’s around 50-degrees and rainy, and the stars have finally aligned. Maybe tonight will be the night to pull the leftovers from the freezer to enjoy with my second batch of Tartine bread (assuming I want to eat anything beyond warm slices of bread for dinner, which I probably will not).
When the urge to make chili struck during that cold spell, I wanted something pretty standard and referenced a recent issue of Bon Appetit that contained several chili recipes ranging from black bean to pork chili verde to chili con carne. I chose the chili con carne because sounded like the most traditional recipe, but it turned out to be anything but traditional, i.e. it tasted nothing like Wendy’s chili or the school lunch chili that I inexplicably loved in elementary school. It was darker, richer, and had far more depth than what I consider “traditional” chili, likely due to the entire head of garlic, all of the warm spices, and the overnight rest* to develop flavor.
I adjusted the spice mixture based on what was in my kitchen (I didn’t have 1/2 cup of ground ancho chiles or ground cloves, but I did have 1/4 cup of ground guajillo chiles, 2 tbsp cocoa mole powder, and 2 tbsp of hot chile powder), and I ended up with a pot of warm, spicy chili. The highlight was the incredibly tender cubes of beef, which, coming from someone who prefers ground beef to cubed (probably because most cubed beef I’ve experienced in chili has been tough and unappetizing), is saying a lot. Finally, although this is supposed to be a Texas chili, I couldn’t resist some de-Texification by adding kidney beans. Sue me.
*Do not fear the two-day process. The amount of actual work involved is not any more than other chili recipes. The most laborious part of the process was trimming and cutting the meat, which probably took me twenty minutes, and aside from chopping onions and garlic, the rest of the work is just measuring and stirring.
Recipe: Chili Con Carne
Browned meat, chopped garlic, and spices
Softened onions and spices
Spiced onions, beer, and beef
Plus tomatoes, water, oregano, and salt
Chili con carne with a side of cornbread (cornbread recipe from Lottie + Doof)