© Copyright 1995-2014, Clay Irving <email@example.com>, Manhattan Beach, CA USA
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Recipe from: Russ Kerlin
Servings: About 12
"The Chili Recipe" is the result of over 20 years of experimentation with just about every variation you can think of, including some you may not have. I can legimately say that this is an "award winning" recipe having won at two chili cook-offs (albeit relatively small, local competitions). Nonetheless, it is a recipe that I am — after all these years — finally satisfied with (but one which I'm sure I will continue to refine).
My recipe can probably be best categorized as a traditional, Texas-style chili recipe, which means:
. . . . no beans (except as a side)
. . . . chunks of beef (versus ground beef)
However, unlike a true Texas-style chili, my recipe contains tomatoes and tomato juice, which are typical ingredients of "Northern" (Midwest) chili's. It also has chopped celery in it which is not a common chili ingredient. (Why? Mostly because my mom used to put celery in her chili!) Masa harina, or corn flour, is also part of the recipe. It is often used in Southwestern cooking as a thickening agent but is added here for flavor. Tapioca (yes, tapioca) is used instead to thicken the chili, resulting in a nice, gravy-like consistency when fully cooked.
But, what makes this chili recipe really unique is the fact that it is baked instead of cooked in a big pot on the stove. This is an adaptation of a stew recipe I discovered in which all the ingredients are simply thrown together in a roasting pan without first browning the meat. The stew is then baked at a low temperature for a long period of time. The result is a hearty stew with big pieces of beef that nearly "melt in your mouth". When transformed into a chili recipe, the result is virtually the same but with a wonderful infusion of chili flavors. Another advantage to baking chili is that it eliminates the chore of "pot watching", and by cooking a lower temperature (for a long period of time), more of the flavors are retained. Now I know that chili traditionalists who advocate using a cast iron pot on the stove (or even an open fire) may cringe at the thought of baking chili. However, while I am a somewhat of a chili tradionalist myself, it is important to keep in the mind that the end result is more important that the path to get there. Anyway.......enjoy!
4-5 pounds stew beef, cut into ½ to 1 in. cubes (any cut of beef will do)
2 large green bell peppers, diced
5-6 stalks celery, sliced thick
2 large Spanish onions, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, minced
4 chipotle peppers, minced
4 large, mild chile peppers*, skinned, seeded & chopped
2-28 ounce. cans diced tomatoes, drained
8 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
*e.g., Ancho, anaheim, Pablano, etc.
1-15 ounce. can tomato sauce
1 can beef broth
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
½ Tablespoon kitchen bouquet
6-8 Tablespoons chili powder (or to taste)
1 Tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 Tablespoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried marjoram leaves
1 Tablespoon dried Mexican oregano leaves
2 Tablespoons masa harina
3 Tablespoons tapioca thickener
Preheat oven to 250°F. Place beef, peppers and other vegetables in Dutch oven or enameled roasting pan, and mix together (do not brown meat). Thoroughly blend seasoning mix ingredients together in a bowl (mixer or blender recommended). Pour Seasoning Mix over ingredients in Dutch oven/roasting pan. Mix well. Cover and place pan in oven. Cook for 5 to 6 hours or until beef is tender and sauce has thickened.
Serve with your favorite chili condiments, such as pinto beans, pasta (macaroni or spaghetti), shredded cheese (Monterey Jack), fresh chopped red onions, sliced jalapeño peppers, hearty homemade bread, oyster crackers and assorted hot sauces.