A knockout chili recipe
By Bryan Voltaggio, as told to Francine Maroukian
Published in the March 2013 issue
Here at Eat Like a Man, we appreciate simplicity. Like, for example, chili. And anything associated with the making of great chili. The thing is, nobody-or at least very few people-carries around their chili spices everywhere they go. (If you do, we salute you.) And you might be somewhere that doesn't have all the chili spices you normally use. And that won't do. So, we're serving up a chili recipe you can make anywhere. Because you can make it your own. -The Editors
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How to Make Bryan Voltaggio's Cabin-Fever Chili
Volt, Frederick, Maryland
Serves four to six.
- 1 cup applewood-smoked bacon, diced
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 lb ground pork
- 1 Spanish onion, minced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tbsp dark chile powder (a rich and fruity blend, such as McCormick's, can be found in a grocery store)
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp ground chipotle pepper
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp Spanish smoked paprika (the sweeter version, not the hot)
- 1 tsp Hershey's 45 unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1⁄2 tsp coarse salt
- 1⁄2 tsp ground black pepper
- One 15-oz can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- One 15-oz can white navy beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 bottle American lager
- One 14 1⁄2-oz can crushed tomatoes
- One 14 1⁄2-oz can diced tomatoes, with juice
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In a large heavy-bottomed dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly crisp. Add meat and brown, stirring occasionally to cook all sides, 10 to 12 minutes. Add vegetable and spice mixes and cook until the vegetables are tender, stirring frequently to coat the meat and vegetables with the spices, about 5 minutes. Stir in the beans and beer until combined. Add the crushed and diced tomatoes. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Taste for seasoning, and add additional salt and pepper if necessary. Transfer the chili to serving bowls and add toppings like cilantro and shredded cheese.How to Pull This Off on Your Own
Fat + Meat + Vegetable mix + Spice mix + Wet mix = Chili
For every 2 lbs meat, 1 cup diced bacon - Since you're going to cook the meat in fat, it might as well be flavorful fat. rendered bacon not only delivers flavor from the cure, it also gives the added benefit of crispy bits of bacon throughout the chili. if you don't have bacon, you could use vegetable oil or olive oil as a (poor) substitute.
2 lbs beef, pork, turkey, venison, or a combination
For every 2 lbs meat, about 6 cups vegetable mix - Primarily aromatics, like onions with a goodly amount of garlic. But if you want to bulk up your chili, add sturdier vegetables that can hold up to the long stewing time. Peppers, yes; zucchini, no.
For every 2 lbs meat, 1⁄2 cup spice mix - Spices must be toasted in the rendered fat to bring out their best flavor (from underneath the chili, added early in the cooking time, not at the end). here's where the skill and personality of making chili show up. Start with a mild chile powder (almost half the mix) and then add your depth and heat. The other half is made up of your personality spices, like the extra smokiness Voltaggio derives from Spanish paprika, or the richness he provides with just a touch of unsweetened cocoa powder. You'll figure out your signature mix over time.
For every 2 lbs meat, about 6 cups wet mix (typically beans and tomatoes), including a flavorful liquid (beer, wine, or stock)
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