Tuesday, September 09, 2008

What's for dinner: Chili, part deux

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about getting a beef chuck roast on sale and using a spice rub on it. I braised it, picked off all the fat, and froze the meat and the broth separately for a future batch of chili. The future is today. This morning I started with one very large onion, chopped; four cloves of garlic; chopped; and because it was hanging around, a couple of summer squash, chopped. I sweated all of that in a dutch oven and then added a couple of cups of uncooked pinto beans, a cup of diced green chile (from the freezer), ½ cup of ancho chile paste (also from the freezer), and four parts water to the one part beans. I do not usually soak my beans, I just cook them longer. I also do not add salt at the beginning of the cooking, as I find it makes it hard to get nice creamy beans.

When the beans were nearly cooked (about 2 hrs), I added the 2 C broth left from braising the meat, the chopped meat, and ¼ C of the same spice rub I used on the chuck roast. The spice rub has the usual suspects in chili powder, plus cocoa, cinnamon, and allspice. I also added a generous measure of salt and some harissa paste, about a tablespoon. Harissa is a Moroccan hot chile paste, and I wanted a quick hit of heat and I saw it hanging about in my refrigerator. You can use any other hot sauce or cayenne. Now the pot is on very low heat on a back burner, to simmer slowly until time to eat it. We’ll have it with sharp cheddar cheese and sour cream. A nice quick meal on our way out the door to yet another baseball game.

Yes, yes, I know: no beans in chili, and who ever heard of summer squash in chili. The squash has cooked into nothing recognizable but does add a sweetness to the chili. I also feel better knowing it won’t go bad in the produce drawer.

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