So sorry to keep you waiting! I got sidetracked by Life - you know, big stuff like…. getting engaged!!!!
And then my dear old dog Spider suffered a near-death experience and we thought for sure she wasn't going to make it. But judging by how shamelessly she continues to beg and how boundlessly she still runs up & down the stairs, I'm happy to say that she seems to want to stick around for a little while longer, and I'm thrilled and thankful for that!
So the news is good all the way around, yes it is! It's a win-win-win situation. Now let's get to talking about that winning chili recipe, shall we?
First things first - the recipe was inspired by this link: a very detailed recipe and worth reading!
And second things second - I cooked the beans using this method. And of course, it's ok to use canned beans if that's what suits your fancy.
As for the dried chiles, you can find them at your local Mexican market. And also, you can vary them if you desire. I used the ones I had on hand it it happened to turn out perfectly.
You'll see that the recipe calls for fresh habanero chiles, frozen. The reason for freezing them is because it mellows the heat significantly, and that's why you can use so many of them in one recipe without burning your pants off. And you can certainly use less or leave them out if that's how you like it!
And lastly... the recipe calls for Marmite. I've always thought of that as some weird thing my friends from across the pond like to keep in their cupboards. But let me tell you, it really adds something essential and robust to this chile paste, and I would not leave it out! In fact now I'm a little obsessed with finding other recipes in which to sneak a little Marmite!
And now, without further adieu…
Val's Award Winning Chili Recipe
2 dried chile California - with seeds
2 dried chile New Mexico - with seeds
2 dried chile de Arbol, seeds removed
1 1/2 T. cumin seeds
1 1/2 T. coriander seeds
1 t. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 T. coffee beans, very finely ground
1 star anise
2 T. tomato paste
2 medium pasilla chiles, diced
2 medium red bell peppers, diced
4 medium green bell peppers, diced
5 habanero chiles, frozen
2 onions, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. oregano
4 cups vegetable stock
2 t. soy sauce
1 t. marmite
2 bay leaves
1 28 ounce can tomato puree
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup tequila
15 cups beans - I used a combo of black, pinto, kidney and white beans. *See notes below.
1-3 T. brown sugar
Seed the New Mexico & Arbol chiles, and then toast them, along with the unseeded California chiles, in a hot skillet for about 1 minute or so on each side, just until they start to brown and smoke a little, and then set aside.
Toast and grind the cumin & coriander seeds and the star anise, and set aside.
Bring 1 cup of the stock to a boil in separate pan and add the toasted chiles and 1 habanero pepper. Simmer over medium heat until the liquid is reduced by about half.
Put this liquid/chile mixture, along with the toasted chiles and ground spices into a food processor or blender and add the ground coffee, cocoa powder, tomato paste, soy sauce and the marmite. Blend into a paste and set aside.
Fire roast the other 4 habaneros and then finely dice them. Easiest way to do this is to put them on a skewer and hold them over the flame on your gas stove, turning occasionally, until they start to blister & blacken.
Next up: saute' the diced onion in a couple tablespoons olive oil for about 8-10 minutes until starting to soften. Then add the fresh diced fresh chiles, oregano and garlic.
Add the diced roasted habaneros and the chile paste to the onions & peppers. Heat at medium high until the paste starts to sizzle & coat the pan. Then add the other 3 cups of stock and 2 bay leaves, plus the beans (see below), 1 28 oz. can tomato puree, 1/4 cup cider vinegar and 1/2 cup tequila. Don't forget the salt - I must have easily added a good tablespoon, but just do it to taste, adding a little at a time and letting it absorb fully into the chili. Cook until it's done! This should take 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally, over very low heat. Once it's done, add the brown sugar to your liking. It'll be even better the next day!
* I used all beans that I'd cooked in advance until *just* done - did not cook until terribly tender because the beans cook more in the chili. Here's the combination of beans I used:
6 cups black beans
2 cups pinto beans
4 1/2 cups kidney beans
2 1/2 cups cannellini beans
And that's it! Now that you've made your chili, it's time to enter it in a contest… or just invite 20 or so of your friends to come over & help you eat it! Either way, you can't lose!