Sunday, October 12, 2008

What's for dinner: Another spin on chili, fruit ravioli

I usually make chili by rubbing a chuck roast with spices and let it sit overnight, then searing and braising it. Shred it up, and add the other ingredients and simmer. This time Dave asked me to try it with the meat cut in small cubes, so of course I am doing that. I figured I need a different cut of beef for this, one that holds together when it’s well-cooked. So I bought some beef bottom-round and cut it into about 1/3” dice. Tossed that with the spice mix last night and let it sit. Also took a half-dozen dried red chiles and put them in water, and soaked 2 cups of pinto beans. Today the beans go on in plan water with fresh epazote, oregano, and dried bay leaf, they get salt and garlic when they are almost done. The meat gets browned in an enameled casserole, then the onions go in until they are translucent, and all the red chile pulp and the soaking juice go in with some cumin and salt. For now both pots are simmering away. My brother Bryan is coming for dinner tonight so I’ll get a little fancier and we will have some cornbread with it; maybe I’ll whip up a little honey butter. I also have some Mexican sour cream, crema agria, and that will be good with it. No tomatoes in the chili today. But it does have the usual cinnamon and cocoa that I like in the spice rub. For dessert, Dave is going to play with the crostada dough and make raviolis stuffed with an apple compote. The concept is his idea, the filling is mine. I think they will turn out like nice little fruit-filled pastry cookies, and be great with a little bit of vanilla bean ice cream. The cornmeal in the crostada dough will be a nice echo of the cornbread served with the chili.

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