All-Day-Long Texas Chili (with sincere apologies to my fellow Texans)

I know that if I go to heaven I’ll have to answer for my sins.  I’m just hoping that the good Lord will forgive me for occasionally putting beans in my chili. 

I hope that adding this excellent Texas beer to the mix will tip the scale in my favor. 

But, if I’m not accepted in heaven, I’m sure I’ll fit in just fine with the fiery fiends of hell.  I’ve spent years and years eating spicy chiles and I’m confident that I can take the heat!

It seems like every time I make chili I make it a little bit differently than the last time I made it.  If you know me, that’s to be expected.  I rarely replicate a recipe.  I like the unexpected twists and turns of the path, unexplored.  This time around, I added some dark chocolate and cinnamon.  I’ve added cocoa powder in past recipes but I wasn’t impressed.  This time I used an actual piece of good dark chocolate and the result was amazing!  The flavor was deep and rich and not too spicy.  I have to confess, the beans added a heartwarming earthiness to the overall dish.  This ranks near the top of my chili making experiences.

Chili doesn’t take very long to prepare, unless you plan on adding uncooked beans to it.  I soaked kidney beans and simmered them in a large pot for 4 or 5 hours, until they were fully cooked and soft.  Once the beans were cooked the rest of the process only took about one hour.

Ingredients:

2 cups cooked kidney beans

6 or 7 guajillo chiles

2 Tbs sugar

½ cup water (water from the steamed chiles works)

1 oz dark chocolate bar

2 or 3 cinnamon sticks

2 lbs ground beef

15 oz stewed tomatoes

8 oz tomato paste (1 and ½ cans)

8 oz tomato sauce

2 jalapeños, seeded and chopped

1 onion, chopped

1 Tbs dried oregano

1 ½ Tbs cumin powder

1 ½ Tbs garlic powder

¼ cup cilantro

2 cups water

1 beer (12 oz)

¼ cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Saltine crackers

Directions:

Steam the chiles.  Remove the stems from the chilies and slice them open.  Remove the pith and seeds. Steam the chilies in a little water in a large, covered skillet for 20 to 30 minutes.

Drain the chilies and add them to the blender with a little water.  Pulse until the chilies form a sauce.

Add the chili sauce to a large skillet and simmer at low heat.  Add the sugar and allow the sauce to reduce by one half. 

Grate the chocolate and add it to the sauce. Stir the sauce as the chocolate melts.

Add the cinnamon sticks to the sauce and continue simmering.  Simmer the sauce until it reduces by one third. 

Remove the cinnamon sticks and reserve the thickened sauce in a bowl.

Brown the beef in a skillet.  Keep warm.

In a large pot, add the stewed tomatoes. 

Break the tomatoes into bite sized chunks with a spatula and add the tomato sauce and tomato paste. Simmer for a few minutes, while stirring.

Add the onion and jalapeño. Simmer for another 10 minutes and the add the oregano, cumin powder and garlic powder. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add the cilantro.

Add the browned beef and cooked beans.

Add 2 cups of water and the beer.  Simmer and stir occasionally for 45 minutes at low heat.

Serve in bowls, topped with shredded cheese and saltine crackers, on the side.