This chili is inspired by one that I enjoyed a couple years ago at the Cowgirl Creamery Cantina in Point Reyes Station. I loved that it combined the standard tomato-based chili that I had known up until that point with my longtime love, Chile Colorado. Since I wasn’t a hugely experienced American-style chili eater at that point (I'll admit, I'm only slightly more so now), it was a bit of a flavor and texture revelation for me — I just had to recreate it at home.
Like any chili, this is a welcome meal on a brisk, fall day — especially when accompanied by a slab of homemade cornbread* (or several handfuls of tortilla chips, my preference) and a glass of “leftover” wine.
* My recipe for homemade, gluten-free cornbread can be found here: http://www.asageamalgam.com/2011/10/cornbread.html —a sage amalgam
6 (or more)
Beef Stock, divided (2 cups for peppers, 2 for beans)
Dried Chili Peppers (California or New Mexico)
can Whole, Peeled Tomatoes in Juice (Unseasoned)
Black Pepper, freshly ground
Peanut or Olive Oil
Potato Flour (or Millet Flour, avoid using starches)
Pork Shoulder, cut into 3/4” – 1” cubes
Chuck, cut into 3/4” – 1” cubes
(1 1/2 cups, from about 2 medium) finely chopped Yellow Onion
finely minced Garlic
Red Wine (I used Cabernet Sauvignon)
Dried Pinto Beans, rinse and drain (no need to soak)
In This Recipe
Make vegetable purées: Remove stems from peppers, split lengthwise rinse out seeds (remove ribs if you prefer less spicy food). Place in a small saucepan, cover with 2 cups of the beef stock. Over high heat, bring mixture to a boil; once it comes to a boil, remove from heat, stir, cover and steep for at least 30 minutes.
While peppers are steeping, blend tomatoes through black peppers in a blender or food processer until smooth; set aside.
When peppers are cool, transfer the entire mixture (peppers plus cooking liquid) to a blender or food processor (if the mixture is still warm, the top cannot be completely covered unless you want an explosion to occur – I just hold several layers of floursack towel over the small, center hole). Blend peppers until smooth; set aside.
Sear meat: In an 8 quart or large stock pot, heat 1 tablespoon or so of the oil over medium high heat. Toss the cubed meat with potato flour. Once oil is shimmering, add a single layer of meat to pan, sear for about 30 seconds to 1 minute total (just until barely colored on all sides). Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate. Repeat this process with the remaining meat, adding more oil (allow it to heat up before adding meat) to the pan as needed.
Sauté vegetables and simmer chili: Reduce the heat of the stockpot to medium. Add 2 tablespoons oil to the pot, warm until shimmering. Sauté onions until they soften and become golden, about 10 minutes). Add garlic, stir well and cook until softened (a minute or two). Deglaze pan with wine, scraping up any crusty bits from the bottom.
Cook mixture, uncovered (a splatter screen is ok) for 2 1/2 or more hours, until meat is tender.
Cook beans: Once the chili is at a simmer, combine beans with the remaining 2 cups beef stock and 2 cups water in a 4 quart pot. Place over high heat, bring to a hard boil and cook for 5 minutes. Stir, cover pot and reduce heat to low. Simmer beans until soft, about 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Finish chili: Once meat and beans are tender, drain beans (reserving cooking liquid) and stir into chili. If desired, add a little of the reserved bean broth to the chili to thin (I chose not to add any, I like mine thicker). Season chili to taste with additional salt, chili powder and/or cumin; simmer for another 30 minutes or so, allowing flavors to meld. Serve immediately or transfer to a 9x13" dish to cool before covering and placing in the refrigerator.