Saturday, February 05, 2005

Chuckwagon Chili

My daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter are over for the weekend. Since it’s their first trip up from the Bay Area since the wedding, we’re having a few friends over this afternoon. I though a simple chili, cooked in one of my 14-inch Dutch ovens over the Camp Chef camp stove would hit the spot.

Traditional red chili is defined by the International Chili Society as any kind of meat or combination of meats, cooked with red chili peppers, various spices and other ingredients, with the exception of beans and pasta, which are strictly forbidden. Traditions aside, beans have a nice way of rounding a hot bowl of red. Besides, the cowboys ate beans by the bowl. Add 4 (14-ounce) cans of pinto or red beans at the second spice dump.

If you're so inclined, use a mixture of beef base diluted with beer instead of water. Make sure that you use Grandma's or Gephardt's chili powder, not a generic brand.


6 pounds round steak, coarsely ground
1/2 cup olive oil
3 ounces chili powder
6 tablespoons ground cumin
6 clove garlic, minced
2 medium red onion -- chopped
6 dried ancho peppers, remove stems and seeds and boil 30 min in water
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 cups beef broth
1 (4-ounce) diced green chiles
12 ounces crushed tomatoes
Hot pepper sauce, to taste

Brown meat in olive oil in a 6-quart Dutch oven over medium heat. Drain excess fat; add chili powder, cumin, garlic and chopped onions. Simmer over low heat 30-45 minutes using as little liquid as possible. Add beef stock only as necessary. Stir often.

Remove skins from boiled pods, mash pulp and add to meat mixture. Add oregano, paprika, vinegar, 2 cups beef broth, chiles, stewed tomatoes and hot pepper sauce. Simmer 30-45 minutes. Stir often. Adjust seasoning. Serve with fresh bread. Makes about 1 gallon or 12 (1-1/3 cup) servings.

Traditional chili garnishes -- diced onions, grated sharp cheddar cheese and chopped cilantro -- compliment this dish well.

This recipe is adapted from the October 2004 issue of Food Management. Chef Joe Eidem of the Washoe (Reno, Nevada) Health System serves his chuckwagon chili in the hospital’s cafeteria.

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