Let's eat: Mexican Beef Chili

Mexican Beef Chili

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Chili very often begins with ground beef, some chopped veggies and a tablespoon or three of chili powder. If you’ve got a little more time on your hand, why not go for a heartier more authentic dish, using beef brisket, pork shoulder and a combination of dried chilies?

A bit of dark chocolate balances and deepens the flavor, and the dish is just as good with flour tortillas as it is served over rice or with a side of cheesy biscuits. You also can use it as a filling for tacos or burritos.

You can find dried chiiles in the Hispanic section of most larger grocery stores, and also at Reyna Foods in the Strip District.  

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 teaspoon cumin seeds 

2 onions, roughly chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 pound 12 ounces beef brisket, cut into 1-inch chunks

12 ounces pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch chunks

1 ancho chil

1 mulato chili

2 guajillo chilies

2 teaspoons ground coriander

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

14-ounce can tomatoes

2½ cups beef stock

Large pinch salt

2 tablespoons chopped dark chocolate (70 percent cocoa)

Sour cream and chopped cilantro, for serving

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. 

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large casserole dish and add cumin seeds. Fry on low heat for 1 minute until aromatic, then add chopped onions and garlic. Cook until soft, about 10 minutes, stirring constantly.

Meanwhile, heat remaining tablespoon oil in large frying pan and, working in small batches, brown the beef and pork in turn on high heat for 2 to 3 minutes per side until well browned. Add more oil if needed. Transfer seared meat to a plate as you go.

Toast chilies in dry frying pan for 2 minutes until aromatic. Place in a bowl and cover with just-boiled water. Let soak for 10 minutes, then drain. Remove seeds and chop finely.

Once onions in casserole are softened, add ground spices and chopped chilies. Stir-fry for 2 minutes until spices are aromatic. Set aside.

When meat is browned, add tomatoes and cook on high heat for 3 minutes, scraping up any sediment from the base of pan with a wooden spoon. Add tomatoes and browned meat into casserole dish with onions and spices and pour in beef stock. Add a large pinch of salt and stir well.

Bring to boil, cover and then transfer immediately to oven to cook for 3 hours.

Once cooked, shred meat with two forks and stir chocolate through the sauce. (I left mine chunky.) Season to taste with salt. Serve over rice or with tortillas and sour cream and chopped cilantro.

Serves 6 to 8.

— “M is for Mexican” (Quadrille Publishing, August 2017, $19.99)


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