Thursday, January 19, 2012

Game Day Chili Con Carne

I laughed when I realized I inadvertently chose a red bowl with a red and gold napkin for the picture of my Chili Con Carne.  When I chose the bowl, I knew the 49ers (red and gold) were in the playoffs, but I didn’t think they would go very far.  I couldn’t believe the 49ers won their nail-biting game last week!  And, I can’t believe they will be playing this weekend for a place in the Super Bowl!  The 49ers haven’t been in the playoffs for nine years, and they haven’t been to a Super Bowl since 1994.  You have to understand, when I moved to northern California, the 49ers were in the middle of a winning streak earning playoff spots in 14 of the 17 years between 1986 and 2002.  Don’t tell anyone, but I believe in the sports motto of, “If you can't be with the team you love, love the team your with.”  And it was easy to do when I moved to a place with a winning team!  But, the last few years have been hard on die hard 49er fans.

Me?  I chose to ignore the fact my team wasn’t winning by immersing myself in planning and executing the perfect Super Bowl party food.  I was, also, happy not to have to cheer against my team in order to win the football pool.  You know, “Come on 49ers! Just take a safety, and I could win 100 bucks!”  It just seems wrong to cheer that way.  I’m better off concentrating on the food.

I have brought countless snacks and appetizers to Super Bowl parties in the last 10 years.  And, last year my chili even won second place in a chili cook off!  I don’t know what I’ll make this year, but if we are invited to another chili cook-off, this recipe for Chili Con Carne might win 1st place!  This chili is spicy and meaty, and I really like what the fresh poblano and jalapeno do to the flavor.

I’m not sure how the 49ers will do in their game on Sunday, but I know I’ll be in the kitchen with the food, trying not to hope for a safety in order to win the football pool!

Chili Con Carne
Adapted from Fine Cooking’s One Pot Meals
2 pounds beef chuck, trimmed of all visible fat and cut into ½ inch cubes
2 Tablespoons canola oil, separated
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 medium poblano chile, seeded and chopped
1 large jalapeno chile, seeded and diced
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 Tablespoon ground ancho chile
1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground chipolte chile
1 ½ teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
Kosher salt
1 14½ ounce can petite diced tomatoes
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice, separated
2 15 ounce cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed

Shredded cheddar cheese
Cubed avocado
Diced red onion
Chopped fresh cilantro

Season the cubed meat with ¼ teaspoon of salt.  Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a 6-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add half the meat, and cook until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes total.  Remove the meat to a plate.  Repeat with another two teaspoons of oil and the other half of the meat.  Transfer the second batch of meat to the plate, and set aside.  Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil to the Dutch oven, and add the onion, poblano and jalapeno, and cook until softened, about 4 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add the ancho chile, cumin, coriander, chipolte chile, and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Return the beef to the Dutch oven with any juices, and add 2½ cups of water, the tomatoes and their juices, 1 tablespoon of lime juice, and 1 teaspoon of salt.  Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered for 1½ hours.  Uncover and continue cooking for another 30 minutes, or until the meat is tender.  Stir in the beans, and raise the heat to medium high.  Cook until the beans are heated through, about 5 minutes.  Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of lime juice, and season to taste with salt.

Top with cheddar cheese, avocado, red onion and cilantro, and serve.

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