Wednesday, October 1, 2008

No Bean Texas Beef Brisket Chili

I am finally relinquishing to the fact that summer is no more. Fall is here with soups, stews, chilies, and Crockpot dinners being the now cherished meals of the season. This new chili recipe has so many twists on what a chili can be along with ideas that boarder on so different that this dish can not be remotely associated with the chile category. There are no beans which is no biggie since many people do not think of chili as having beans but there are large cuts of brisket instead of hamburger, small steak pieces, and sausages of different types. Potatoes are also part of the list of ingredients. Now, I know for a fact that I have "never" seen potatoes, sweet or otherwise, in a pot of chili. In fact, I want to try this chili again with sweet potato chunks added instead of the Yukon Gold potatoes I used this time. 6 dried ancho chilies along with all the other added goodness puts a little kick in this chilies step. I had fun making this and would make this again just to see the faces of the recipients when the chili was served. After diving in, I know the chili would become well loved and part of the chili family~ recipe found in the October 2008 issue of the Bon Appetit magazine.

Texas Beef Brisket Chili
6 large dried ancho chilies*
6 ounces bacon, diced
1 1/4 pounds onions, chopped (about 4 cups)
1 5-pound flat-cut (also called first-cut) beef brisket, cut into 2 1/2- to 3-inch cubes
Coarse kosher salt
6 large garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1 1/2 10-ounce cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes with green chilies (1 3/4 cups)
1 12-ounce bottle Mexican beer
1 7-ounce can diced roasted green chilies
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro stems
4 cups 1 1/2- to 2-inch chunks seeded peeled butternut squash (from 3 1/2-pound squash)

Fresh cilantro leaves
Chopped red onion
Diced avocado
Shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
Warm corn and/or flour tortillas

Place chilies in medium bowl. Pour enough boiling water over to cover. Soak until chilies soften, at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Saute bacon in heavy large oven-proof pot over medium-high heat until beginning to brown. Add onions. Reduce heat to medium; cover and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle beef all over with coarse salt and pepper. Add to pot; stir to coat. Set aside.

Drain chilies, reserving soaking liquid. Place chilies in blender. Add 1 cup soaking liquid, garlic, chili powder, cumin seeds, oregano, coriander, and 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt; blend to puree, adding more soaking liquid by 1/4 cupfuls if very thick. Pour puree over brisket in pot. Add tomatoes with juices, beer, green chilies, and cilantro stems. Stir to coat evenly.

Bring chili to simmer. Cover and place in oven. Cook 2 hours. Uncover and cook until beef is almost tender, about 1 hour. Add squash; stir to coat. Roast uncovered until beef and squash are tender, adding more soaking liquid if needed to keep meat covered, about 45 minutes longer. Season chili to taste with salt and pepper. Tilt pot and spoon off any fat from surface of sauce. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Cool 1 hour. Chill uncovered until cold, then cover and keep chilled.

The sauteed onions and bacon smell so good! The aroma wafted throughout the house.

Next time I will not cut the brisket to the size specified in the recipe. Way to big, even after being cooked ~ unless shredding is desired before serving.

The recipe states that it serves 8 to 10 people but I am thinking more like a dozen unless you have some really hungry guests. There was enough to have for leftovers for several nights plus a large bowl for the freezer.

I think adding garnishes on a chili is the best because everyone can dress the chili up according to taste and the presentation is always great.

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