The Chili Solution

By: Thomas Wywrot

Servings: Serves 1 (John Welbourn), or 8 to 10

5 lb Grass Fed Chuck Roast, cut into roughly 1/2 inch chunks
1/2 lb Bacon
1 Yellow Onion, chopped
6 Cloves of Garlic, crushed
5 Ancho Chiles
3 New Mexico Chiles
3 Pasilla Chiles
2 Guajillo Chiles
5 Chiles De Arbol
1 Heaping Tbsp Cumin
1 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 Tsp Cocoa Powder
1 Tsp Instant Espresso Powder
Salt and Pepper to Taste
4 Cups of Water
8 Green Onions, chopped
2 Limes, cut into quarters

Instructions: Fire up your broiler.

Put on some latex gloves and grab the chiles.  Let me say this again.  Put on some latex gloves and THEN grab the chiles.  Nothing makes chili more unpleasant for everyone than the cook complaining about his or her burnt eyes on the way to the emergency room.

Cut or pull the stems off of the chiles, rip the chiles apart, and throw away all the seeds.  Toss the chiles on a baking sheet and throw them in the oven for a few minutes, but don’t walk away.  Once you can smell them, pull them out.  The smoke that develops if you burn them is not pleasant, and will cause you to cough up a lung.  Put those chiles in a bowl or pot of water while you get everything else together.

Cut up the chuck roast into decent sized chunks, but nothing too big… right around bite sized.  Cut up your onion and smash your garlic at this time, too, so that things flow better when the time comes.

Break out your dutch oven, put it on the stove around medium, and cook up some of that bacon in there.  If you can fit it all in, good.  If not, do it in two batches.  Once that’s all cooked up, put it on a plate for later, and save about half of the grease in a separate dish.

Now crank the heat up a bit and brown the chuck roast chunks in the bacon greased dutch oven.  Do this in small batches. You DO NOT want soupy meat chunks, but nicely browned pieces of heaven.  Each and every one of those pieces is important, and they all deserve to be browned equally.  Add some of the saved bacon grease through the process if necessary, and store the browned meat in a separate bowl for the time being.

After all of that, toss your chopped onion and garlic in the pot with some more bacon grease if necessary and let it all sweat until the onion becomes translucent. You probably want to do this at a lower heat setting than you used during the browning stage.  Just saying.

While this is going on, drain the water off of the chiles (we don’t want it) and put them (the chiles) in a blender along with 1 cup of fresh cold water.  Blend until the contents make a paste, and add more water if necessary, but don’t go crazy.  The key word is paste.

About this time the onions should be looking pretty sweet, so we’ll toss all of the meat back into the dutch oven with the onions and garlic, along with all that bacon we cooked.  I like to crumble the bacon, but strips could also be nice.  Add 3 cups of water to the dutch oven, along with the cumin, cayenne, salt, and pepper.  Feel free to add more or less depending on your salt / heat / cumin preference.

Next, dump the paste from the blender into the dutch oven and stir it all up.  Use one of those awesome silicone spatula things to get all the paste out of the blender.

At this point you want to crank up the heat, bring the whole thing to somewhat of a boil, and then back it down to a simmer.  Leave it uncovered and let it simmer for about 3 to 4 hours, stirring occasionally.  If you find while you’re cooking that the chili is getting too thick for your liking, add a little water to the dutch oven.

Before serving, toss in the teaspoon of cocoa powder and fine grind espresso and stir it all up.

You’re now ready to serve with green onions and lime wedges.

You’re welcome.

Notes: Originally adapted from The Homesick Texan.  Made my own by much experimentation… and suggestions from my wife.



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