Chili is fundamentally a stew of vegetables, seasonings and protein simmered in a strong, thick broth. Southwestern in origin and flavor idioms, it has been co-opted in many American regions with everything from tofu to turkey, cinnamon to cilantro. The original Tex-Mex chili has gotten lost in the sauce. But, just in time for the Super Bowl, here’s a classic rendition that takes a little more effort than the powdered mixes or kits, but renders a robust, full-flavored chili.
BP’s Chili Spice Blend
2 tablespoons chipotle chile powder
3 tablespoons ancho chile powder
3 tablespoons ground chile powder
1 tablespoon cumin
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
3 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
BP’s Game Day Chili
2 pounds trimmed skirt steak
6 tablespoons BP’s chili spice blend
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 onions, coarsely chopped
1 large garlic bulb, peeled and chopped
½ cup masa harina or flour
1 tablespoon tomato paste
12-ounce bottle full-bodied beer
4 cups rich chicken or beef stock
1 cup fresh diced tomato
Accessorize Your Chili
Fresh chopped cilantro
Fresh sliced lime
Shredded cheddar cheese
Diced fresh tomato
1. Mix all ingredients in the spice blend. You will not need it all, so save the extra for another chili day.
2. Slice steak into 1-inch cubes. Season with 6 tablespoons of the chili spice blend.
3. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large stew pot over high heat. Sear a third of the steak pieces in the pot, allowing a crust to form on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a plate. Repeat two more times until all the meat is seared, adding up to another 2 tablespoons of oil if necessary.
4. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in the pot over a medium flame. Add the onions and garlic, and stir frequently until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle masa harina (or flour) over onions and garlic. Stir in tomato paste for 2 or 3 minutes, and allow masa harina to slightly scorch on the bottom surface of the pan.
5. Add the full bottle of beer and, using a wooden spoon, scrape the crusty bits from the bottom of the pan. Simmer altogether until the beer reduces and the pan is nearly dry. Add the stock, the diced meat and tomato and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and bring the stew to a simmer. Place the pot in a 300-degree oven and cook, uncovered, for about 2 hours.
6. Skim off any fat, stir well and taste. Adjust seasoning with additional chili spice blend, salt and pepper.
4 tablespoons butter,
with 1 tablespoon divided
1 small onion, finely diced
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup water
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon salt
½ cup Parmesan cheese
Oil to brush on
1. In a large pot over a medium flame, melt 3 tablespoons butter and add onion, cooking for about 10 minutes, or until translucent.
2. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil.
3. Stir the cornmeal and water together, and gradually add this mixture to the boiling chicken stock, stirring constantly for 20 minutes or until the cornmeal is very thick and leaves the side of the pan when stirred. Stir in the salt and cheese, then transfer the polenta to a well-greased 9-by-13-inch pan. Chill the polenta in the refrigerator until firm, at least 1 hour.
4. Slice into diamond or square shapes.
5. Brush each piece with a little oil. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a pan and sear the polenta on each side. Serve warm with chili.