5/15/11

Sunday In the Kitchen: Chili Stew

The rain moved in as expected today, so I spent the day sewing and cooking.  There's nothing better on a rainy day.  I decided it was time for another "In the Kitchen" segment.  Remember that this is where I'll tell you about time-consuming recipes that make a number of meals in exchange for one long morning or afternoon in the kitchen.  These are recipes should make enough to freeze some for another day.  They would also be good as meals to make ahead for a couple with a new baby, a sick friend . . . that sort of thing. 

I saw a chili recipe on the Food Network the other day, and it gave me some ideas.  It looked really good as the host made the chili, but she put so much chili powder, cayenne, and red pepper flakes in it that my palette would never be able to take that kind of heat.  Indeed, when I read the reviews online, people complained that it was so hot it was practically inedible.  Still, it looked intriguing, and so I started with the basic recipe and made it how I thought it should be made.  I reduced the seasonings by a LOT, changed the meat, chopped the vegies in a different way, and basically made chili the way I like it.

It starts out looking kind of dry because there is no added broth or liquid of any kind, except for the juice from the fresh tomatoes that I used and the oil used to brown the meat.  When I had the meat browned and everything added, this is how it looked:


Then, I left it to simmer for two hours, and this is how it looked:


It makes its own juice as it stews.  Here, I added the only liquid aside from the oil, one-half cup of strong coffee.  Then it simmers for a while longer.  After that, I added some kidney beans and some fresh basil and let it heat through.  Then I baked off one of these:

and that's our dinner!  I'll freeze whatever is left over, because it makes a lot.  We'll have it again another night. 

Here's the recipe I came up with:

Chili Stew

3 1/2 pounds beef flat iron steak or brisket (or any tough cut of meat)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups yellow onions -- coarsely chopped
4 large garlic cloves -- roughly chopped
1/2 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 green bell peppers -- seeded and chopped
1 bay leaf
4 cups fresh tomatoes -- cored and chopped with their juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup strong coffee
2 cans (15 oz. each) kidney beans
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves

Optional Toppings:

Sour cream
Grated Cheddar Cheese
Diced Tomato
Tortilla Chips
Chopped Onions
Guacamole

Pat the beef cubes dry with paper towels. Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven and quickly brown the meat in batches on all sides. Transfer meat to a separate bowl and set aside. Saute the onion and garlic in the same oil over medium heat until soft, but not brown, about 8 minutes. Add the chili powder, pepper flakes, cayenne pepper and cumin and saute for 1 minute more. Add the bell peppers, bay leaf, tomatoes and any accumulated juices, reserved meat with accumulated juices, 1 tablespoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover the pot with a tight fitting lid and simmer for 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Taste and season if necessary.

Add coffee, cover the pot and simmer for 1 more hour.

Add the kidney beans and basil. Warm through. Serve with optional toppings, if desired.

1 comments from clever and witty friends:

quiltzyx said...

Hmmm, I've never seen a chili recipe with coffee in it. Not being a coffee drinker really, what does it add to the flavor?

As it's been cool & drizzly here today, it does look really good right now too!!