Friday, February 5, 2010

Rick’s Five-Bean Super Bowl Chili con Carne for a Crowd

(Note: This one appeared at Retired Pastor Ruminates on October 9, 2009, but I thought I'd drag it over here for the Super Bowl this weekend. I apologize to any Vikings fans for any pain I may cause them for mentioning their team right now.)

This is an old Super Bowl favorite of ours. I made it last night. I know, it wasn’t the Super Bowl, but both the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers played like it was, and the Minnesota fans cheered and carried on like it was. All it was was Bret Favre playing against his old team on Monday Night Football.  My son had invited some of his teacher friends over, so I figured I needed to pile on (notice the football metaphor) the food.

This is a good dish for a crowd. You can make it ahead and let it get happy on a back burner, so if your guests are arriving at indeterminate intervals, it’s perfect.

You will need a very large heavy cast iron casserole or Dutch oven for this one. It makes a lot of chili.

3 tbs vegetable oil
4 yellow onions, peeled and sliced
1 bell papper, sliced (I used red but green is OK and cheaper)
2 or 3 small hot peppers, deseeded and chopped (I used long red hots, but jalapenos are fine. Just don’t use habeneros or the heat will overwhelm the subtlety of the other nice flavors)
3 lbs ground beef (I used Black Angus 80-20, but you can go leaner if fat freaks you out, but you will lose some flavor. If you use turkey, just don't tell me.)
6 tbs chili powder
2 tbs ground cumin (comino)
2 tbs paprika (use smoked if you have it, but only use 1 tbs)
1 tbs fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp ground white pepper (if you have it)
2 tps salt (I used Kosher, but it doesn’t matter)
1 beer (not dark, whatever you have in the fridge. I used Corona)
1 35 oz. can of good tomatoes, whole or pureed
2 tbs chopped canned chipotle peppers in adobo
1 14.5 oz. can beef broth or your own beef stock
1 15.5 oz. can red kidney beans
1 15.5 oz. can dark red kidney beans
1 15.5 oz can pinto beans
1 15.5 oz. can small red beans
1 15.5 oz can black beans.
The kernels from an ear of cooked fresh corn, or its frozen equivilent.

Chopped fresh cilantro, chopped white onion, sour cream and grated Mexican or Cheddar cheese for garnishes. Serve with tortilla chips.

Heat the oil in your big pot or in heavy-bottomed big skillet over medium heat. Cook the onion and peppers for about ten minutes stirring occasionally. Turn up the heat to medium high and add the ground beef, stirring until it is brown and there is no pink at all. This is a lot of meat so it will take a while.

Turn the heat back to medium, add the chili powder, cumin, paprika, black and white pepper and salt and stir to mix. Pour the beer over it (it will foam impressively) and stir to mix. Let that simmer for ten minutes, then stir in the tomatoes, chipotles, and beef broth, breaking the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon if you use whole ones.

Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Let this cook for one hour, stirring occasionally. Then stir in all five kinds of beans (undrained with their juices), and bring to a boil, then reduce to a very gentle simmer for one hour, stirring occasionally to keep the bottom from sticking. Stir in the corn and cook for ten more minutes.

I put out bowls and let people ladle themselves what they want, and I put the garnishes in small bowls and let people doctor their own. Serve with tortilla chips.

The natural accompaniment is cold beer, but red wine works fine, too. I drank an inexpensive tempranillo from Spain with it last night and it was a nice match. Enjoy.

(Photo: R.L. Floyd)

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