It's officially fall, and we're already reverting to the hearty preparations that, despite common medicine, seem to improve our circulation and rewarm our toes and fingertips.
Good chili will do just that. (Bad chili seems to leave my toes and fingertips numb) The true history of chili is somewhat muddy, but Texans will contest that a real bowl of "Texas Red" contains no beans or tomatoes. This recipe has neither, (but won't really qualify as true "red") It is, however, really tasty chili.
Whatever the ingredients, the key to standout chili is in the chili powder. Made well with the right ingredients, it creates the deep flavor profile that characterizes your chili. Store bought chili powder will get you a tasty chili, but the homemade stuff will take you to the next level.
1.5 lbs boston butt cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes, seasoned well with salt
4 tbsps chili powder (DIY chili powder)
1 medium to large onion, roughly chopped
5 cloves garlic
2 poblano peppers
4 oz. fresh chili peppers, jalpeño, habñero, serrano,
1 bunch of cilantro, leaves separated from stems
2 tbsps dark brown sugar
1 dark or amber beer, preferably mexican (negro modelo or dos ecquis amber)
2 tbsps of masa corn flour
1. Heat a large heavy bottomed pot well over medium high heat. Working in batches, brown the meat pieces. Don't crowd the pot too much, as it prohibits browning.
2. While the meat is browning, combine 3 tablespoons of the chili powder, onion, garlic, poplano, sugar, and chili peppers and the cilantro stems. along with the beer. Puree well on high until thoroughly blended. (What this yields is NOT pretty, but it will be delicious)
3. Return all of the browned meat to the pot and add the veggie beer mixture. Allow this to come to a boil, cover pot and place in a 325˚F oven for two hours, or until the meat if very tender.
4. Set the pot over a medium flame and let it bubble. Stir in the masa (gently so as to not shred the meat) and and the final tablespoon of chili powder. Wait to see how thick the liquid becomes. Add more as needed or desired. I like my chili thick.
I eat my chili with a little raw onion for crunch and corn tortillas heated directly over the bare flame on my stove. I always serve this stuff with sour cream and or cheese, it's tasty but it also acts to cut the heat those who can't take it.