An “ultimate” chili for Super Bowl parties.
Four-time James Beard award-winning author Cheryl Alters Jamison has written a dozen cookbooks. Beginning Feb.12th, she hosts the talk show "Heating It Up!" every Friday from 11am - 12pm. Listen live here, and find her podcasts and articles here.
I created a version of this dish for Bon Appétit magazine’s February issue a few years ago, when they wanted to run an “ultimate” chili for Super Bowl parties. This is a departure from New Mexico’s red or green chile--chili with an “I,” one that pays homage to the Texas bowl of red, rich with earthy ancho chiles and cumin. The dish lets the cook be part of the party too, because the chili can be made a day ahead, or simmered during the pre-game show with only an occasional stir. Serve with your choice of black or pinto beans alongside, and with other garnishes, so that each guest can customize his or her portion.
4 bacon slices, chopped
4-pound chuck roast, trimmed of surface fat and cut in ½-inch cubes
1 large onion, chopped
4 plump garlic cloves, minced
3½ to 4 cups beef stock
¼ cup mild ancho chile powder
¼ cup chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin seeds, toasted in a dry skillet and ground
1 tablespoon mole paste (available in well-stocked supermarkets. Mexican markets, and santafeschoolofcooking.com)
1½ teaspoons crumbled dried oregano, preferably Mexican
2 teaspoons salt, or more to taste
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
Approximately ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
1 to 2 tablespoons masa harina
Garnishes: Cooked black or pinto beans, chopped onions, sliced scallions, grated mild Cheddar, Monterey Jack, pepper Jack cheese or queso fresco, fresh or pickled jalapeño or serrano chile slices, oyster crackers, and/or tortilla chips
Fry bacon in a Dutch oven or other large heavy pot over medium heat until brown and crisp. With a slotted spoon, remove bacon to a platter.
Add one-half of beef cubes to drippings and cook over medium heat until all are lightly browned and only a little liquid remains in the pot. Use slotted spoon to transfer browned beef to platter with bacon. Repeat with remaining beef cubes.
Add onion and garlic to drippings and sauté 4 to 5 minutes, until onion is soft. Pour in ½ cup of stock and scrape up browned bits from pot’s bottom. Add beef and bacon back to pot, along with the ancho chile powder, chili powder, cumin, mole paste, oregano, 2 teaspoons salt, and vinegar. Pour in 3 cups of stock. Reduce heat to very low and cook uncovered for approximately 2½ hours, stirring about every 30 minutes. Add more stock if needed to keep mixture from getting dry. Chili is ready when beef cubes still hold their shape but are approaching fall-apart tender.
Add more stock (or a bit of water) if needed to have a good balance between beef cubes and liquid. Add more salt, if needed, and cayenne, if you like a little more heat. Stir in masa harina a couple of teaspoons at a time to thicken chili. Cook about 10 more minutes.
Chili can be served immediately, or cooled, refrigerated overnight, and reheated. Serve chili steaming hot in bowls, with garnishes for guests to add as they wish.