Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Beefalo and Roasted Pepper Chili

   It has been raining for the past 48 hours.  I love it!  I can't remember the last truly rainy day I've had.  There was maybe one in NC, there was a half rainy day when I first got back to TN, but this is true rain.  Grey, drizzly, and cool.  Our AC hasn't kicked on 24 hours.  Fabulous.  Cool weather to us means soup.  A week and a half ago we bought some beefalo stew meat at the local farmers' market.  The intent was to make chili it the whole time, but it was so hot and humid that we couldn't imagine having chili for dinner.  But yesterday posed the perfect opportunity.  To make it a little more special, I roasted some fresh local peppers and made bacon jack corn muffins (recipe tomorrow!)

Beefalo and Roasted Pepper Chili
1 lb beefalo stew meat, 1/2 inch cubes
1 lrg onion, diced
1 lrg red bell pepper
1 small green bell pepper (or 1/2 a lrg)
1 lrg New Mexico green chile*
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 14 oz can red beans
1 14 oz can black beans, drained
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1 1/2 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp red pepper flake (optional)
1 bay leaf
1/2 C water
oil, salt and pepper

   Set broiler to high and move oven rack close to top of oven.  Place bell peppers and chile under broiler.  Allow skin to char and turn black, rotate peppers as needed to skin is evenly charred.  When skin is fully black, place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let sit at least 10 minutes.  Peel skin off and remove seeds.  Finely dice peppers.
   Heat about 2 tsp of oil over med heat in a large pot.  Saute onions for 4-5 minutes, until soft. 
   Liberally salt and pepper meat, add to pot.  Sear meat well.  (It is ok for it to stick to the bottom a little.)
   Add spices and herbs, garlic and diced chile peppers with 1/4 C of water.  Scrape bottom of pot to remove any sticking bits.  Simmer for about 5 minutes.
   Add beans, tomatoes and last 1/4 C of water.  Turn heat up to med-hi, bring to a bubble.  Cover and turn down to med-low.  Simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
   Uncover, turn heat to low.  Simmer another 45 minutes.
   Top with your favorite items:  scallions, cilantro, cheese, chips, etc.
   Serves 6.

*The New Mexico chile is a moderately hot variety.  It will not make your chili overly spicy; most of the heat comes from the red pepper flake.  But if you are wary of the heat, use a supermarket jalapeno.  (They are generally pretty mild.  A homegrown jalapeno will probably be hotter.)  If you can't find a New Mexico green chili but still want the warmth, try a serrano or two jalapenos.

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