The calendar says March. We are two days away from the “ides of March”. However, the weather is anything but spring like. The winds yesterday were so fierce the ferries were not operating for most of the day. A neighbor’s trampoline from a block down the road is now adorning the lawn. No wonder I wanted to cook something hot and spicy. To fill the kitchen with delicious smells. Then to take our food on trays and eat in front of the fire.
This recipe for SMOKING CHILI has evolved over the years. More than fifty years ago I started making if for my brother Jamie. In those days it was considered exotic beyond belief. The recipe still contains some basic chili ingredients – beef, tomatoes, chili powder, onions and so. But now it can stand straight and tall and proud of the hot flavours it delivers. This isn’t Texas chili (it contains beans) but you’ll love it just the same. The combination of two meats gives you extra boosts of flavour, the beef bold and the pork sweet. Hoisin sauce is the secret ingredient. It gives your chili another lovely dimension of flavour. Try adding a little Hoisin sauce to your next beef stew.
SMOKING CHILI WITH TWO MEATS (makes an awful lot, enough for 6-8 chili lovers)
l pound lean ground pork
1 pound lean ground beef
2 tablespoons or more of canola oil
1 large onion medium diced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (start with a smaller amount if you’re faint of heart)
1 teaspoon of salt
15 grinds of black pepper
4 fat garlic cloves finely diced
2 fat, fat jalapeno peppers finely diced
1 large red pepper medium diced
2 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 beef stock cube preferably Italian
1 28 ounce can of best quality Italian tomatoes.
2 tablespoons chili powder (or to your liking, more or less, start small you can always add more later)
2 teaspoons cumin powder
1 teaspoon oregano
For garnish sour cream and fresh limes
Over medium heat and using a large pan add a tablespoon of oil and saute the beef and pork just until it changes color. Remove it from the pan and put it into a large Dutch Oven or slow cooker. Discard any liquid left in the pan.
Add a generous splash of oil and add the onions to the same pan. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes and saute until translucent. Don’t over cook the onions. Now add the oregano, cumin and chili powder, and the garlic and saute for a couple of minutes more. Adding the seasoning to the hot pan releases the aromatic oils and mellows the seasonings. Add the onion mixture to the meat.
Be careful chopping the jalapeno peppers. The seeds and membrane are very hot. Some people find them too hot and don’t use them. Don’t touch your eyes with your fingers when chopping the peppers, and scrub your hands really, really well after. You might want to wear disposable gloves if your skin is very sensitive.
Add a splash more oil to your pan (don’t clean it out after you cook your onion mixture) and saute the red peppers and jalapeno peppers for about 4-5 minutes or just until the peppers become a little tender. Remove them from the pan and add to your meat onion mixture in the Dutch oven.
The pan will be covered with lovely brown bits from all the vegetable. Turn the heat up a little and add the chicken stock and scrap the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the tomato paste, the Hoisen sauce and the beef stock cube. Stir until well combined and pour over your meat mixture.
Add the canned tomatoes to your meat mixture. If you are using whole peeled tomatoes (always my preference) use a knife to chop up the tomatoes while still in the can. I found this is the easiest way to deal with whole tomatoes. I always use whole tomatoes when cooking as the best quality tomatoes are used for this purpose.
Add the two cans of kidney beans to the meat mixture and stir well. This would be a good time to taste your chili. If you’ve started out with a small amount of chili and red chili flakes now would be a good time to add a little more. Also you can taste test during the cooking and continue fine tuning your smoking hot chili.
On very low heat on the top of the stove simmer your chili for three or four hours, or even more. Your choice. The liquid will evaporate and have a rich, glossy look. Taste to see if it needs additional seasoning. Frequently just adding a little more salt will give you the flavour you’re looking for. Serve your chili with a topping of sour cream and some lime wedges. Add cornmeal muffins for a very special treat.
Virginia’s tips. You can also cook this dish in a 300°F (very slow) for 4-5 hours.