Sunday, March 8, 2015

Home Cookin' - Possibly the World's Best Chili

I know, everyone thinks they have the world's best chili recipe.
I stole this one from someone else, so I don't have a dog in the fight personally, but I can tell you it is certainly the best chili I've ever tasted.
I found the recipe here: FoodLab Best Chili Recipe
His description of how he came up with the recipe and the methods he used to achieve the most awesome chili ever had me sold.
The photos that follow here are from my second attempt at this. Don't be alarmed by the cost or quantity please. I made a 3X batch because it is a bear to make. If you're going to cook for six hours and destroy your kitchen you might as well make it worth-while, right?
Ok, so here is the ingredient list below. I've inserted in parentheses and underlined anything I substituted or did differently and the reason why. Enjoy.


  • 1 pound dried dark red kidney beans
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 quarts water (I used canned dark red kidney beans)
  • 3 whole Ancho, Pasilla, or Mulato chilies, seeded, and torn into rough 1-inch pieces (about 1/2 ounce) (I used dried Ancho because they had them at Balducci's)
  • 2 whole New Mexico red, California, CosteƱo, or Choricero chilies, seeded, and torn into rough 1-inch pieces (about 1/8 ounce) (I used dried California because they had them at Balducci's)
  • 1 whole Cascabel, Arbol, or Pequin chili, seeded, and torn in half (I used dried Pequin because they had them at Balducci's)
  • 5 pounds bone-in beef short rib, trimmed of silver skin and excess fat (I used what is known as Chuck Flap or Boneless Short Rib because I didn't want to mess with the bones. I used bone-in short rib last time, it was great, but a pain in the butt. I also added 1 package of Veal Demi Glace De Veau Gold to make up for the flavor I was missing from the marrow.)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 quart low-sodium chicken broth (preferably home made), divided
  • 2 whole anchovy fillets (Omitted, substituted fish sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon marmite
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons whole cumin seeds, toasted, then ground
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds, toasted, then ground
  • 2 whole cloves, toasted and ground
  • 1 star anise, toasted and ground
  • 1 tablespoon extra-finely ground coffee beans
  • 1 ounce chopped unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced fine (about 1.5 cups)
  • 3 fresh Thai bird chiles or 1 jalapeno, finely chopped (I used Jalapeno)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano leaves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 cup vodka or bourbon (Bourbon, 'cause Bourbon)
  • 1 tablespoon Buffalo-style hot sauce, such as Franks RedHot (or more to taste) (I used Frank's)
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar (I used light brown sugar and added molasses)
  • So let's get started, shall we?

Beautiful meat from The Teet...OKA Harris Teeter. It was more expensive than the pitiful short ribs at Giant, but $1.00/less per lb. than the good looking short ribs they had at Balducci's. Once again, this was a 3X batch that I made, so you can either go 1-2lbs of this or 5lb of bone-in short rib per the recipe.
This is what you get...two of these in the package.
You'll want to trim away as much of the fat and silver skin as you can. Cut the meat into 1" thick chunks. You're going to brown these and you want them to take a nice sear. It's part of the incredible umami construction that makes this recipe what it is.
Salt and pepper liberally, then sear either in a Dutch oven or heavy skillet.
Put the meat in a pan when you're done. You want to let it cool a bit so you can work with it. Don't discard any juices, we're going to use them.
I followed the advice in the recipe and nuked the dried peppers for 30 seconds. They came out pliable and easy to work with. After you tear them up you're going to throw them in the pan you cooked the beef in with the chicken stock and let it simmer until the peppers are nice and soft.

If the smell of the meat didn't do it for you, this step and the next one will. It starts to smell really good here.
You're going to toast all of your spices including the cumin, coriander, cloves, and star anise. Keep an eye on them, they'll burn easy.

Mmm. Spicy!
Gather all the spices and put them in a coffee or spice grinder. 

This is going to go in the blender with the peppers that have been simmering.

Turn off the pan and let it sit for a few minutes. You can start cutting your meat up while this is cooling.
Once it's cooled a bit, put the peppers, spice mix, soy sauce, Marmite, and fish sauce in a blender and puree the hell out of it.  Give this a taste. It's unreal. By the way, do yourself a favor and put a kitchen towel over the top of the blender. Better safe than sorry and repainting your kitchen. 
Cut the cooled meat into chili-sized pieces and place in a bowl.

At this point you're going to add some oil to the final vessel and cook the onions until soft, then add the garlic, oregano, and fresh Jalapeno. Cook that for an additional five minutes.
Pour in the chili paste. I put the remainder of my chicken stock in the blender and pulsed it a couple of times to make sure I got as much of the paste out of it as possible for use in the next step. Cook the chili paste and onions/garlic until it starts to fry. Do that for about 5 minutes, then put the remainder of the stock in the pot, making sure you scrape up any goodness from the bottom of the pot. Add the beef, any reserved juices, and the bay leaves. Bring it to a simmer, then turn it down as low as possible and cover loosely. Let that go for an hour, stirring occasionally.
After that's been on for an hour, you're going to add your beans, crushed tomatoes, and cider vinegar. Let that go for another 3 hours, stirring occasionally.
When you're ready to serve, stir in the sugar and bourbon, then plate it.
Serve with your favorite chili toppings.
This chili is dark brown and so flavorful that you need to go through the experience from smell, to first taste, to roasty-finish and savor it.
Hope you all enjoy your chili. I sure did! Hit me up with questions/comments/rude remarks.

No comments: