Friday, April 17, 2009

Recipe: Monsoon Chili

If you've been reading the blog for a while, you know that one of my most often used cookbooks in my kitchen is the Nantucket Open-House Cookbook by Sarah Leah Chase. There are some seriously good recipes in there. Several of her Thanksgiving ideas turned into traditions last year. A couple of days ago, I got in the mood for chili, so I took a look at the recipe for Rainwater Chili and gave it a shot. Turns out it's some darn good chili. Much like Chase said in the book, it was even better the next day and makes for incredible nachos. There were a couple of things that I felt like changing a bit with the recipe, so I've taken those liberties and christened it for Arizona's most beloved source of rainwater, the monsoon.

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 large Spanish onions, chopped

1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 red or yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
3 jalapeƱos, seeded and minced
5 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup chili powder
2 Tbsp ground cumin
2 Tbsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp sweet paprika
1 Tbsp hot paprika
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
3 Tbsp cocoa powder

2 lbs chuck roast, cut into 3/4 inch cubes (or 2 lbs ground chuck roast if you don't feel like cutting up all that meat)
3/4 lb sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
3/4 lb hot Italian sausage, casings removed

1-28 ounce can whole tomatoes
1-14 ounce can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup reposado tequila
1 bottle beer
2 cups chicken broth (or you can do what I do and cheat this with 2 teaspoons of chicken base)

Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a big pot (at least 5 quarts, preferably 6). Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until very soft, about 10 minutes.

Add peppers, jalapeƱos, and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 7 minutes. Add all of the seasonings and cocoa and cook, stirring occasionally, until aromatic and dark, about 3 minutes. Remove pan from the heat.

While vegetables are cooking, brown beef and sausage, crumbling the meat up with a spoon, until no longer pink. Strain off excess fat, and add meat to pot. Return pot to medium heat. Stir in tomatoes (crush the whole tomatoes with the back of a spoon or your hands), tequila, beer, and chicken broth. Simmer uncovered for 60 minutes if you're using the chicken base, 90 minutes if you're using the broth. Check the seasonings near the end of the cooking time, and add salt and black pepper to taste.

Accompany the chili with your choice of sour cream, shredded cheese, diced onion, diced tomatoes, and diced avocados.