Sunday, December 8, 2013

By Popular Demand...

...well, okay, only three people actually asked for this. But I'm sure many more wanted it. They were just too shy to speak up.

Anyway, here's my chili recipe referred to in the previous post. I hope you will enjoy it as much as we do.

Bergheim Truck Stop Chili

I view recipes as suggestions or guidelines, not hard and fast rules. Chili in particular is a dish that lends itself to individual interpretations and variations. Feel free to adapt, modify, or experiment with this recipe as you see fit.

There are four keys to this chili. The first is toasting the cumin. That gives it a richer, deeper flavor that permeates the chili. The second is the use of chipotle rather than jalapeno peppers. It makes the heat of the dish much more subtle. Your mouth won't burn like it will with jalapenos, but after a few spoonfuls you'll start to feel warm all over. Chipotle peppers also impart a smoky flavor that compliments the toasted cumin. Third is the creation of a chipotle paste to smooth out and thicken the chili. Finally, of course, is the bacon. Traditionalists insist on the use of lard or suet, but IMO bacon is an improvement over them.
  • 6 - 8 slices of bacon
  • 3 lbs. meat, trimmed of fat and cubed (venison or beef, but not ground meat - beef tips, stew meat, round steak, brisket - basically any type of budget cut will do)
  • 1 lb. onions, chopped
  • 2-4 dried chipotle peppers, stems removed, pods split, and seeds removed, roughly chopped (This is one of those "it depends" things. If you like a hotter chili, use more peppers. You can also roast fresh peppers instead of using dried ones if you choose, but I'm lazy, so I use the dried ones.)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons masa hirina (can substitute corn meal)
  • 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
  • 2-3 tbsps ground cumin (I like cumin, so I use 3+ tablespoons, but you can adjust this to suit your taste.)
  • 4 tbsps chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes in puree
  • I 14 oz. can diced tomatoes (Optional – if you like 'chunky' tomatoes in your chili, as I do, go ahead and use. If you like your chili on the spicy side use Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilies, otherwise use 'regular' diced tomatoes. IMO the chili has enough kick without the Rotel, but it's your mouth… and stomach … and lower G.I. tract.)
  • 2 cups beef broth or beef stock
  • 1 six-pack of Shiner Bock or similar dark, heavy beer.

Fry the bacon in a large frying pan. Remove and chop into small pieces. Set aside.

In the bacon drippings, brown the cubed meat over high heat. Don't cook it, just brown it. Remove and set aside.

Sauté the onions in remaining bacon drippings until lightly browned, about 8 - 10 minutes.

While the onion is sautéing, toast the cumin in a small frying pan over medium heat for 1 -2 minutes. Stir constantly and do not overcook.

Add chipotle peppers, garlic, masa hirina, cocoa powder, paprika, oregano, thyme, salt, and black pepper to food processor. Pulse a couple of times to combine. With processor running, slowly add 1/2 cup beef broth until the mixture becomes the consistency of a smooth paste, about 30-45 seconds.

Put the chopped bacon, remaining beef broth, tomatoes, chili paste mixture, and meat into a large stock pot. Add the sautéed onions, chili powder, and toasted cumin. Drink half the beer and add the remaining half.

Stir to mix ingredients. Cover and bring to a boil. Once the chili begins to bubble reduce the heat, partially uncover so some of the steam can escape, and simmer (simmer, not boil - there should just be a few bubbles popping up every few seconds, not a constant rolling bubbling) for about 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Sip beer as needed to enhance the stirring experience.

Adjust the consistency to suit your taste. To thicken, stir a tablespoon or two of additional masa harina, cornstarch, or flour into 1/4 to 1/2 cup warm water. Stir the resulting slurry into the chili. If you need more liquid to achieve your desired consistency then open another bottle of beer, drink half, and add the remaining half.

I like my chili straight, but if you prefer you can serve it with whatever sides and fixings you desire – shredded cheese, chopped green onions, sour cream, chips, crumbled crackers, or my personal favorite, hot cornbread.

There should be enough leftover chili for a second meal, or for use in other dishes such as enchiladas, nachos, frito pie, chili dogs, chili mac and cheese…the only limit is your imagination.



Old NFO said...

Woo hoo! :-) Sounds like dinner next weekend!

CenTexTim said...

Hope you like it...

Bear said...

I'll be giving this a try at our Small Game weekend at camp in a few weeks... many thanks!

p.s. I don't sleep in the bunk room, so I'll be out of harm's way when the afterburners fire up that night...