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Grey Cup red and white chili

Cinda Chavich offers up  The Ultimate Bowl of Red.

This is one of my favourite chili recipes from my book The Guy Can't Cook .

It is loaded with chunks of tender beef, sweet ancho chili peppers, and just enough bite to make it dangerous. And remember, chili is always best the second day, when all of the complex flavors have had a chance to get to know one another better. So make your chili the night your party, and keep it warm on the stove or in the slow cooker.

2 large dried ancho chili peppers

2 lb (1 kg) beef round or chuck steak, cut into 1/4-inch (5-mm) cubes

2 Tbsp (30 mL) olive oil

2 cups (500 mL) chopped onions

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 Tbsp (15 mL) ground cumin

1 Tbsp (15 mL) dried oregano

one 28-oz (796-mL) can plum tomatoes

1 cup (250 mL) beef broth

1/4 cup (60 mL) rye whisky

1/4 cup (60 mL) tomato paste

1 Tbsp (15 mL) brown sugar

2 cups (500 mL) cooked black or pinto beans

2 tsp (10 mL) hot Asian chili paste (or to taste)

Break open the ancho chili peppers and remove and discard the stems and seeds. Place the chilies in a heat-proof bowl and cover with 1 cup (250 mL) of boiling water. Let them soak for about 20 minutes or until they're soft, then scoop them out of the water and transfer to a food processor or blender. Add a bit of the soaking water and process until the chilies are finely chopped. Add the rest of the soaking water and let the machine run until the chilies are completely pureed. Set aside.

In a Dutch oven or a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the oil over medium high heat and brown the beef in batches, removing it with a slotted spoon and setting it aside in a bowl as it's cooked. Don't overcrowd the pot or the meat won't brown nicely (not a disaster, but you'll miss out on the prize-winning layer of caramelized beef flavor.

Once all the beef has been browned, reduce the heat to medium-low and add the onions and garlic to the pot. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are light brown.

Return the browned beef to the pot and stir in the cumin and oregano. Add the ancho chili purée and stir to combine.

Put the tomatoes, beef broth, and whisky into the bowl of the food processor or blender (don't clean it) and whirl until the tomatoes are chopped (this will also get every last bit of the anchos out of the processor and into your chili). Pour this tomato mixture into the pot and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to low, partially cover the pot, and simmer for 1 to 2 hours or until the meat is very tender.

Stir in the tomato paste, brown sugar, and the cooked, drained beans. With the lid removed, simmer for another 15 to 20 minutes or until the chili has thickened nicely. Season to taste with Asian chili paste, salt, and pepper.

Serves 6 to 8.

TIP: While this chili is perfectly good straight up, serve toppings like sour cream, shredded cheese, chopped tomatoes, and avocados alongside. You might want to use these ingredients if you're rolling your chili in flour tortillas. Otherwise, it's nice with a little rice (or red beans and rice for that Red and White theme!)

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