A little thematically inconsistent, but here’s a recipe. Couple times, people have asked me for my chili recipe. Not very long ago I noticed that it’s evolved a little since the last time I wrote it down, so I ran through it one more time. It’s essentially the same — chocolate and beer.
- Black beans
- Pinto beans
- A big can of those yummy fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- A medium yellow onion
- 3-4 cloves of garlic
- Somewhere between 1 and 3 chipotles in adobo sauce (if you don’t have these in your pantry or fridge right now, well, I don’t even)
- 1 jalapeno. Or 2 — fortune favors the bold
- About a pound of ground beef, and, really, get some of that lean grass-fed beef. Totally worth it.
- About a tablespoon each of chili powder and cumin
- About half a teaspoon of dried oregano
- A square of baker’s chocolate
- A beer, divided. Divided into some goes in the chili and some goes in your face
Soak 1.5 cups black beans and 1.5 cups pinto beans in 10 cups or so of water overnight. If the beans don’t soften overnight, add a pinch of baking soda.
Rinse the beans. (Or, use 2 cans of black and 2 cans of pinto, save yourself the hassle and move on. But don’t rinse — you’ll want all the liquid)
Dump the can of tomatoes into the beans. Put the heat on medium-low.
Brown the beef in a medium-hot skillet. Drain by scooping up with a slotted spoon and smooshing down with a spatula, and then transfer to the pot of beans and tomato. Pour off all but enough fat to fry the onion in.
On that note, dice the onion and the jalapeno and fry them, along with the garlic — either squished in a press or chopped up fine by hand. Actually, you probably should have done this first. Hmmm. Sorry. Anyhow, at the last moment of frying, when the onions are starting to be translucent and the jalapenos are making you cough, add the spices to the onions and garlic and let them toast a bit before adding it all to the pot of what is now starting to look like chili.
The heat is still on your skillet, right? So dump in about half a beer and add the square of baker’s chocolate. Stand there and look smart while you sip the beer and watch the chocolate melt. You might have to add a little more beer. That’s why you have to stand there and look smart while you watch. But, you probably won’t which is why you’re allowed to sip the beer.
Once that melting process is complete, pour in the chocolatey beer, stir the chili but good, and hang close until it simmers. Once it does, stir it again with some real attention and commitment. Then put the heat down to low and put the lid on and leave it be for a few hours. It will be pretty good in like 4 hours. But it won’t be awesome until it spends a night in the fridge, so the best course of action is to make it on a Saturday so that it’s totally ready for football on Sunday.
NB: Sometimes I add more tomatoes, different beans, or delete the meat. Sometimes I add other dried peppers. The only rules are these: Chocolate and beer yes; cinnamon and sugar no.