Feb 24 2005
Before you use this recipe, you might want to read the choco-chili polemic from Monday.
• About 750 gr (a bit more than 1.5 pounds) pot roast or other low-cost chunk of beef
• 2 onions, diced or sliced
• 3 or 4 cloves of garlic, minced
• 1 tomato, chopped
• 6 or 7 jalapeno or similar hot chilis, seeded to taste, and chopped
• 1 19-oz can of black beans or kidney beans, drained and rinsed
• 11/12ths of a red or amber beer (I’m sure you can think of something tasty to do with the remaining 12th)
• 1 tbsp (or so) dried cumin
• 2 tbsp (or so) paprika (this is primarily for color and thickening)
• 1 tbsp (or so) chili powder (optional)
• 2 or 3 tbsp hot sauce (optional)
• 2 small chunks of dark chocolate, about the size of a pair of dice
The first step is to freeze the beef and then thaw it. More precisely, half-thaw it. That makes the next step much easer.
Cut the beef into nine or ten chunks. Cutting against the grain, slice the chunks into slivers as thin as possible (this is much easier to do if the beef is half-frozen).
In a very large cast-iron frying pan, add a bit of olive oil, then begin browning the beef over medium heat.
When the beef is two-thirds browned, add the onions and garlic and continue stirring and browning (note: you want the onions and garlic to soften, not brown).
Add the chopped chiles and the tomato. Continue to stir-fry for another minute.
Stir in the cumin and paprika. Let it warm up in the pan to release its aromas.
Add the 11 ounces of beer and stir.
Cover, reduce the heat, and let simmer for one hour, stirring occasionally.
Add the beans.
Let simmer for another 30 or 40 minutes.
By now, everything should have come together to make a nice stew with a rich, red-brown sauce that is fairly thick. Taste it. If it isn’t spicy or zingy enough for you, add some chili powder and/or hot sauce. (Ideally, this won’t be necessary.)
Add the chocolate. Stir for a few minutes until it is melted and fully integrated.
Serve with a nice crusty baguette and a salad. Ideally, you should refrigerate it overnight and re-heat it the next day, but I won’t hold it against you if you can’t wait.
The result looks something like this.
Update: in later variations of this recipe I added two chipotle peppers, and extended the simmering time. Yummy! I’ve also started using smoked paprika, which (especially when combined with the chipotles) gives it a nice smoky undertone.
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