January 31, 2011

Blue Ribbon Chili

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I am a chili fanatic. On Jersey Bites you will find many chili recipes posted over the years. Butternut squash, lamb, and chicken are just some of the ingredients I have managed to manipulate into wonderful chili concoctions. Don’t get me wrong, there have been some clunkers too that I’d rather not talk about here, but luckily, they haven’t dissuaded me from searching out and trying new recipes.

For the recent big (and disappointing) Jets game, I came across this Blue Ribbon Chili recipe by Pam Anderson from her book Cooksmart.   Even though it takes about four  hours to make, it does not require all that much babysitting. You’ll need to give yourself enough time to braise the meat which takes a good 90 minutes or more and then about 90 minutes for the chili to cook down, but the results are rich, aromatic, hearty and heavenly.

The only modifications I made to the original recipe was the addition of one yellow pepper and Shoprite’s Organic Black Beans instead of Kidney Beans.  In the future, I think I may add three peppers since this chili is very thick and the added veggies are a nice contrast. 

I served this to a room full of hungry football fans and it was a huge hit. One diner remarked that it is kind of a cross between pulled pork and chili. I think that is an accurate assessment. All I know is that it is delicious and even better the next day. You could also serve a side of corn or flour tortillas for anyone who wants to turn this into finger food. It would be great on Nachos too.

Blue Ribbon Chili

1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
1 flat, boneless chuck roast (2 pounds), patted dry
4 country-style ribs (about 1 1/4 pounds), patted dry
1 Tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons ground cumin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
9 Tablespoons mild chili powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 large onions, cut into medium dice to make about 4 cups
4 1/2 cups (one 28 ounce can, plus an additional scant cup) crushed tomatoes
1 ounce bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 cans (15 1/2 ounces each) canned pinto or kidney beans (optional) Black beans work well also.
1 – 3 Peppers (Yellow, Orange, Green) chopped (optional)
1 can beef broth (just in case)

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Set a large Dutch oven or ovenproof pot over medium heat while preparing roast and ribs.

2. Pour 2 tablespoons of the oil into a medium bowl, add roast and ribs, and turn to coat.  Generously sprinkle both sides of meats with 1 tablespoon cumin and salt and pepper.

3. A couple of minutes before searing meats, increase heat to strong medium-high. Add chuck roast to pot and cook until a solid brown crust forms on one side, about 5 minutes. Turn roast over, and cook until a crust forms on other side, about 5 minutes longer.  Remove from pot. Add ribs; cook until crust forms, 4 to 5 minutes. Turn ribs over and cook until crusty, 4 to 5 minutes longer.

4. Return roast with ribs to pot; add 1 1/4 cups water (if using a pot that is more than 9 1/2 inches in diameter, increase water to 1 1/2 cups) and turn off heat. Use a potholder or dishtowel to cover pot with a sheet of heavy-duty foil, pressing on foil so that it is concave and touches roast.  Seal completely around edges. Place lid on pot. Turn on heat again until you hear juices bubbling. Set pot in oven and cook without checking until roast and ribs are dark brown and very tender, about 1 hour and 20 minutes. (NOTE: I removed the ribs after 1 hour 20 minutes, but returned the beef to the oven for another 1/2 hour. )

5. Meanwhile, heat chili powder, oregano, and remaining 2 teaspoons cumin in a small, dry skillet over low heat, stirring constantly, until spices are warm, fragrant, and darker in color, being careful not to burn them. Set aside. When roast and ribs are done, remove from pot and set aside until cool enough to handle. Pour meat juices into a measuring cup; add enough water to equal 6 cups.  (NOTE: I had hardly any meat juices left after cooking meat for an extra 1/2 hour, so I added 1 can (2 cups) of beef broth to 4 cups water.) Set pot (which will be very hot from the oven) over medium-high heat; add remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Add onions, (peppers if using) and saute until soft, 7 to 8 minutes. Add toasted spices, tomatoes and meat juice-water mixture; stir to combine. When roast and ribs are cool enough to handle, tear meat into shreds and add to chili; discard pork bones.

6. Simmer chili until flavors are deep, rich, and unified, about 1 1/2 hours. Add chocolate and garlic and simmer to blend flavors, about 5 minutes longer. Add beans, if using, and heat through. Chili can be served immediately, but it’s better if allowed to stand 20 t0 30 minutes before serving, and even better if it can be cooled, covered, refrigerated overnight, and reheated before serving.

Suggested Condiments: Sour Cream, Chopped Cilantro, grated Cheddar Cheese, chopped Red Onion
Sides: Corn or Italian Bread and Salad


IMPORTANT NOTICE: As a POTLUCKTM blogger, I received the ShopRite brand ingredients in this recipe from ShopRite for free.