Saturday morning before I felt for work I pulled a bag of stewing beef out of the freezer. It was chilly out and I had chili on my mind.
When I returned home 9 and some hours later, battered and bruised from a day in ye olde flower shoppe, I was itching to cook.
On went NPR, I poured myself a cold nonalcoholic beer, slipped into my slippers and got out some dried chilies. I had both Ancho and Guajillo. I have no idea what type of chilies are used in the powder form I usually use to season my brew, but what the hell.
I placed them in a hot cast iron pan and cooked them until the skin blistered and they puffed up. Then I covered them with water, brought it to a boil, took the pan off the heat and let them soak for 30 minutes.
As this was happening I dug around in the freezer and found some pork S-man has squirreled away.
After a quick defrost I cubed both the beef and the pork and browned them in small batches in my biggest cast iron skillet.
I diced two onions, 6 cloves of garlic and cooked them in the large pan, then added a big can of tomato sauce and my leftover espresso.
I got out my mini prep cuisinart and blended the softened peppers, with seeds, but minus stems, obvs, with several cups of the soaking liquid.
When smooth. I added this to the pan along with heaping tablespoons of oregano, cumin, smoked paprika and black pepper.
After bringing this to a boil I added my browned meat, 2 cans of pinto beans, rinsed and drained and let it simmer away for 2 hours.
On Sunday I put it in a cast iron Dutch oven, added a very large bell pepper cubed, more fresh garlic and a couple of jalapenos from the garden.
This simmered for another 2 hours or longer.
At the end I added much needed salt, lavish splashes of hot sauce, tasted and adjusted. Tasted more. Tasted again. Finally shared.
My first chile con carne actually using chilies.
Talk about thinking outside the box! Er, can.
I am usually a big proponent of lots of vegetables in my chile, so next time I will make it with zuccnini and mushrooms, carrots and more bell peppers and no meat. Perhaps I will experiment with different kinds of dried chilies.
Anytime I can make a recipe more complicated I'm a happy woman!