Chunky Beef Chili

I can’t say that we ever get really cold weather, but some days when it is overcast and the wind is whipping off the ocean, it is fairly cool. On those days I really love a good stew or soup – or even better, chili.

Early this week I had all the ingredients needed to make a mean chili.

San Clemente 8.3.2013 005The first thing I did was make a spice blend of dried chili peppers.

San Clemente 8.3a.2013 004A friend brought these back from the states, I have only seen dried chili peppers in a small open air market in Quito three years ago. It is not something that you would find at Super Maxi on a regular basis. But adding different types of ground dry peppers adds not  so much heat but intense flavor to your chili sauce. Even when we were living in the US and able to find all sorts of prepackaged chili mixes I still added this special touch to bring an authentic quality to my chili.

Beef Chunk Chili with Fresh Red Beans

  • 1 to 1 1/2 lbs of Lomo Fino (tenderloin of beef) cut into bite sized pieces (I know, steak, but we pay $2.50 / lb. off the truck for it)
  • green and red peppers cut into chunks
  • tomatoes cut into quarters
  • 1 lb of fresh red beans, washed and picked through
  • red onion cut into quarters
  • carrots cut into large pieces
  • garlic crushed
  • celery cut into large pieces
  • 2-3 Tablespoons of chili seasoning (see recipe below)
  • large bunch of cilantro chopped fine (save 2 tablespoons for sprinkling on finished chili)
  • vegetable oil for browning meat
  • 1/2 Cup of red wine (drinking variety not cooking wine)
  • 4 cups of beef or vegetable stock (fresh is best but a few cubes in water will work)
  • pepper
  • salt and dried red pepper flakes to taste…if you used stock cubes use salt sparingly

First I took one of the large New Mexico Chilies and three of the smaller Chili Japones peppers and with scissors cut them into small strips, seeds and all. Added 1/2 teaspoon of my dried yellow pepper flakes but first dry cooked them on low heat on the stove until I started to cry and Joe needed to leave the house…To this I added cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, black pepper and garlic powder. Honestly I have no real measurements so use your imagination. Do not burn, just gently sauté until you can smell the spices. Set aside to cool. Add this cooled mixture to a coffee grinder or a mortar and pestle and grind to a fine powder.

Brown the meat with a small amount of vegetable oil in a large pressure pot until the meat is colored on all sides and the juices are sealed in. Do this step in stages so as not to crowd the pan or you wind up boiling the meat. You want to seal in the juices so the heat should be high and the oil hot. Remove meat and set aside. Turn up the heat and add the red wine to deglaze the bottom of the pot. Add the balance of the ingredients plus the meat back to the pot, stir and bring the liquids to a boil. Turn down the heat and secure the lid. After the pressure valve begins to rock, cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour depending upon the amount of veggies added. Remember do not overfill the pressure pot. Keep the heat low and the pressure valve rocking slowly or your food will scorch to the bottom of the pan.

I do not like seasoning with salt until the meat is completely cooked. Taste for seasoning and add salt and extra red pepper flakes at this time.

San Clemente 8.3.2013 007Sprinkle balance of cilantro on chili and serve with rolls or crackers. Honestly this is a great dish and can be made ahead and refrigerated for several days to intensify the flavors even more. If you are not into spicy, use more of the dried peppers and less of the hot pepper flakes and cayenne. Buen Provecho!

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A Tale of Unhealthy Bread Pans

Our local pan man has moved away from San Clemente leaving us breadless. Not that we eat bread every day but it was just so convenient to stop him as he bicycled by our house each morning at around 7am and buy several rolls for the day. Well without him I have started to bake my own bread again. So on Sunday evening I made the dough for my 5-Minute Artisan Bread Recipes (see earlier post by the same name for recipe) and early on Monday morning I got them ready for the oven before I left for my walk. I baked them and was so disappointed when I removed them from my loaf pans and saw that the coating on the pans came off on the bread.

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I was so upset, what the heck happened???? Then I got angry, this could not be happening, these are the best loaf pans I could find and I am livid…first we will probably die from eating this coating, but friend Bethany said just cut it off and use the bread that was still good. I made mini-French toast this morning and Joe and I have not keeled over yet so her suggestion was a good one.

NOW where am I going to find good loaf pans that won’t do this. Until I can get new ones I am going to line these with parchment paper for everything that I bake from now on…

And by the way a new bread delivery has already started. Almost the same as with Jesus, a young man named Luis has started to deliver each morning a little before 7am. Life is good. And his rolls are a bit bigger and fluffier. So we have a new pan man, or should I say pan joven.

Thursday is Pork Day

Most Thursday mornings the family that sells pork and beef drives by with that days slaughter. I purchased 7 lbs of beautiful lomo fino (tenderloin) of pork. Half went into the freezer already covered with the dry rub, while the other half went into the refrig for its rest until this morning when I cooked it up.

I had to take a few pictures because these guys are just so sweet, the father was not with them this morning so I was only able to get photos of two of the sons. Here is a series of photos, I guess they wanted to look more macho so smiling too much was not how they wanted to be portrayed.

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The pork had marinated and this morning I had it in the pressure pot by 7am. While out this afternoon Joe and I stopped by Jesus’s place and picked up fresh rolls, I made cole-slaw and invited David Hitchcock over for a quiet dinner. It was fun, the pork was excellent and life could not get any better.