Even though Storm Herc didn’t deliver like expected in New York this weekend, it’s still pretty cold here–it’s supposed to be 13 degrees as a high tomorrow. But I have a heavy coat and I don’t get to wear it very often, so I’ve enjoyed wearing it around Brooklyn. Another thing I enjoy is cooking on the weekends, spending hours cooking recipes out of my cookbook collection and looking for new things I can parcel up for weekday lunches.
Luckily for me, the intersection of cold weather and cooking is working on my chili recipes. Growing up in Oklahoma, chili was a staple in winter, and while New York thinks it knows about Midwestern food, I’m slowly making sure it really does. Or, at least, that my little corner of Brooklyn knows about good Midwestern food (fine, Oklahoma is more south-central-midwestern, but let’s just move on).
Last night, I made a chili so tasty, so delicious, that I couldn’t resist sharing it here. First, I started by pouring myself a glass of wine, and obviously I chose this wine because not only do I enjoy shiraz but it has an interesting lion on the label. That said, cooking on Sunday nights is one of the highlights of my week and having a glass of wine while I do it makes it extra enjoyable.
Beer and Chocolate Almost-Perfect Chili
Serves 4-6 and great for refrigerating for lunches
- 2 lb ground chuck
- 1 shallot, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 C olive oil
- 1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 1 can kidney beans
- 12 oz beer of your choice
- 2 tbsp semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 2 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 to 1 tsp each spices to taste – I use garlic, paprika, cumin and oregano
- 1/2 C water
Now, the reason I call this almost-perfect is that I didn’t have any chilis on hand to slice and put in. I would have roasted and added a small assortment, but unfortunately it’s too cold to make going to the store worth it. A can of diced chilis would work, too, if your produce section isn’t great. Also, I used the Sam Adams Boston Lager because that’s what we had on hand, but I think anything you like to drink is probably going to be the taste you want in the chili, although you can’t really taste the beer flavor at all in the finished meal.
Of course, the chuck can be substituted with any other beef cut or turkey, if you prefer, and vegetarians can use their preferred substitute.
First, chop the shallot and garlic, and cook them in the olive oil. Do this first, because I always forget and then am scrambling to fix my timing once the meat is browned. Once you have these going in the oil, feel free to put your meat on the other burner.
Brown the meat in a deep skillet with the water so keep the moisture, and once cooked, add in the onions and garlic mixture. Add spices to taste now so they can really get into the meat while it cooks, and stir the mixture together for a minute. Pour in the beer once the water cooks down (usually about ten minutes on medium high), and keep the temperature at medium high. Once the mixture settles together, add in chili powder and tomatoes, let cook approximately two minutes, then add chocolate chips.
Add in the sea salt and pepper to taste, and then place the lid on and turn the heat down to low to cook for about twenty minutes. Take off the lid to let the moisture cook down, about five to ten minutes, depending on how you like your chili to taste.
Let it cool a little, then scoop yourself a bowl. In fact, if you’d like, you can put it on top of some Fritos like I did, and drizzle some ketchup and mustard (French’s is the only acceptable mustard here, snobs) over for a good summer taste. If that’s not your jam, feel free to eat it plain – it’ll still be great, if I do say so myself.
Chili is one of the easiest foods to make, since you literally just put it in the pan and let it cook until it tastes how you want. I’ve been looking for a good recipe for a while, and I think I may stick with this one for a while. I hadn’t put in chocolate and beer yet, and I have to say that I really think it put it on the next level. Shallots, too, are one of my favorite discoveries of the last few months, and I put them in anything I can.
This was one of my favorite things I made this weekend, though I made some other really incredible dishes (to be recreated, photographed and shared at a later date) with a friend, and if you make this, I hope you love it as much as I did.