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Generally Recognized As True: Slow-cooked dutch oven beef chili

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Slow-cooked dutch oven beef chili



This beef chili of mine is really good if you are willing to slow-cook it for about 2.5 hours, with a total cooking time of about 3 hours.

The ingredients are:
  • 1 cup dried kidney beans: the most economical, but you could use about 3 cups of drained canned beans
  • 700-800g stew beef
  • 1 L jar of tomatoes (I used my home-canned tomatoes; a similarly-sized can of diced tomatoes would work)
  • 1 L beef stock/broth
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 3 small or 2 medium onions
  • 2 heaped tsp. cumin
  • 2 semi-heaped tsp. smoked paprika (sweet)
  • 1 semi-heaped tsp. ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 heaped tsp. ground chipotle pepper
  • 1 heaped tsp. cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. oregano (or some other Italian-like seasoning)
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • salt
  • pepper
  • malt vinegar
About 12 hours before you plan to start (i.e. the night before), rinse the dried kidney beans and soak them in a covered bowl in about 3 cups of cold water.

When you are ready to start cooking, pre-heat the oven to 300F and get a dutch oven ready (the pot I used above was a 4.2 qt. Emile Henry Flame Top).

First, season the flour with a bit of salt and pepper and put it in a bowl, cut up the beef so that the pieces aren't more than about 1-inch cubes, rolling the pieces of beef in the seasoned flour as you go.

Then, dice the onions and chop the garlic. Heat the olive oil in the dutch oven over medium heat and add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.

While that's doing, mix the spices (including cocoa powder) into a small bowl. After the 5 minutes is up, add the spices to the onions and garlic, combine well, and cook for about 1 minute.

Then, add the jar of tomatoes. Stir to combine, and then add the beef stock and the tomato paste. Combine well, add the meat and stir briefly. Then, raise the heat, and wait for everything to come to a simmer.

When it reaches a simmer, put the lid on the dutch oven and transfer it to the oven.

The total oven-cooking time will be 2 hours 30 minutes. But, after 1 hour of the oven-cooking time has passed, and only if you are using dried rather than canned beans, drain and add the pre-soaked kidney beans to the pot. Stir to combine, and return it to the oven for the remaining 1 hour 30 minutes.

If you're using canned beans, you can add them at the end of the cooking time (i.e. after 2 hours 30 minutes in the oven). But, definitely do not do this if you are using dried beans because kidney beans are poisonous if not cooked properly (canned beans are pre-cooked).

After the cooking time is up (you can verify doneness by confirming that the meat is very tender and flakes well when put under pressure), give it a stir, and stir in malt vinegar, salt, and pepper to bring the seasoning up to your own taste preference (balsamic vinegar might substitute for malt -- but it is a bit sweeter). The vinegar just adds a tanginess that I normally find missing.

Then, let it sit covered in the pot for about 30 minutes to let it cool and the flavours combine.

Not browning the meat in this recipe is intentional, even though most braising books tell you to do it. If you want to be all French, I suppose there's no harm, but it doesn't add anything in my opinion.

This isn't as thick as some chilis, but it probably has fewer carbs than those and won't leave you feeling over-stuffed after eating a bowl. It will thicken a little bit as it cools.

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