Friday, September 10, 2010

Black Bean Chipotle Chili

I've had this can of chipotle chili's in adobo sauce hanging around for a bit as I picked it up for making this kick butt shrimp dish.

With cooler than normal, outright Novemberish weather the last few days I decided I wanted to make chili and experiment a bit with the chipotle.

Chipotle is a smoked dried ripe jalapeno. When packed in adobo sauce it becomes soft again. As it is a ripe jalapeno to start with it is higher in natural sugars, slightly sweeter than the green variety. As it was smoke dried it imparts this wonderful smokey flavor to the dish. Not a bad combo to work with in the kitchen when it comes to chili makin'.

The amount of chipotle you add to the chili determines the heat. If you want a mild tang go with fewer, if you want full on burn where your ears burn and you break into a cold sweat add more. I strongly recommend you sample a bit of the chipotle BEFORE you get all crazy and add it to your other ingredients as there is no going back once in. Seriously...the burn sneaks up on you once you get past the smokey sweetness of the chipotle.

Black Bean Chipotle Chili
  • 1.5 lbs ground beef (I use coarse ground chuck)
  • olive oil
  • 1 onion - chopped
  • 1 T garlic - minced
  • 2-6 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1 T chili powder
  • 1 can diced tomato
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 can beef broth
  • 1/2 t black pepper
  • bay leaf
  • 1 T oregano
  • 1 T cilantro
  • salt

In large sauce pot add enough olive oil to coat bottom of pan. Over medium high heat crumble in the ground beef. Cook until well browned. Add onion, cook about 5 minutes longer until onion is translucent. Add garlic and stir in cooking 1 minute.

Add remaining ingredients. Check for salt and season to taste.

Reduce heat and simmer 1 hour with cover ajar to allow some steam to escape and the chili to cook down concentrating flavors.

Serve with sour cream and shredded cheese as garnish.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Beer Braised Short Ribs version 2

Quite a while back I posted a recipe for beer braised short ribs that was quite tasty, this version is even tastier.
The crock pot is a life saver when it comes to braising low and slow. Especially on a hot day as it emits very little heat compared to stove top or oven braising. It may take longer but that's fine when you are in no hurry or have stuff to do at the normal time one needs to be preparing dinner.

This version I cheated to move the depth of flavor. I suppose I could have made my own stock and onion soup for the base, but why bother when you sometimes can use "store bought" to make it easier on yourself. I mean, surely Martha Stewart takes short cuts when no one is looking AND there are plenty of others out there who do and aren't ashamed of them. Count me in with the latter group.

Beer Braised Short Ribs

  • 3 1/2-4 lbs beef boneless beef short ribs
  • 1 onion - diced
  • 2 T minced garlic
  • 3 bay leaf
  • 1 12 oz bottle beer
  • 1 can beef broth
  • 1 envelope Lipton Onion Soup Mix
  • 1 14 oz can diced tomato
  • 1 t pepper
  • 1 t salt
  • 4T corn starch
  • 1/2 c water

Cut short ribs into serving piece size. Season with salt and pepper. Heat heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil and brown ribs in batches searing all sides well...about 3-4 minutes per side. Put each seared beef into crock pot as you finish each batch.

When you are done searing the ribs add onion to skillet and brown off scraping up the browned bits from the pan bottom. When onions are translucent, about 5-7 minutes add garlic and cook 1 minute longer, stirring constantly so as not to burn garlic. Add bottle of beer and scrape up all remaining brown bits from bottom of pan. Stir in onion soup mix until dissolved and pour over the seared ribs in the crock pot. Toss gently until all is well distributed.

Add can of undrained tomatoes and beef broth to the crock pot. Cover and simmer on low 6-8 hours. Just before serving test seasoning and add more salt and pepper if needed. Mix corn starch and water and pour into the crock pot stirring constantly until it begins to thicken and create a "gravy".