Saturday, January 24, 2009

World's Greatest Chili

We are big time Rick Bayless fans so we decided to finally make one of his recipes. He typically uses pretty unique peppers or spices but this chili recipe was really simple. I must say it is so so good. I was scared the whole time because it has four ancho chilies in it. They are actually roasted pobalno peppers which are one of the lowest in heat. Jason removed the seeds too which I highly doubt Rick does. So please please try this. It's so so amazing really. Thick and rich with flavor. I am so happy for the leftovers.

The World's Greatest Chili
Rick Bayless of Frontera Grill and Topolobompo
Makes 5 cups, enough for 4 to 6

4 large dried ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded

3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 tablespoons vegetable oil or olive oil

1 1/2 pounds ground beef

1 medium onion, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained

1 15-ounce can pinto beans, drained

2 tablespoons masa harina

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Shredded Chihuahua or Monterey jack cheese, Mexican-style sour cream, chopped chives, tortilla strips and cilantro

1. The chile seasoning. Heat a medium-size skillet over medium. When hot, toast chiles one by one: open flat and press down with spatula until the chile releases its aroma and toasts lightly, 10 to 15 seconds. Flip and toast the other side. In a small bowl, cover the chiles with hot water and let rehydrate 30 minutes, stirring frequently to insure even soaking. Drain.

In a food processor or blender, combine the chiles and a little water, garlic, and cumin. Blend to a smooth puree, scraping down and stirring frequently. (If the mixture won’t move through the blender blades, stir in a tablespoon or two of water to get things going.) With a rubber spatula, work the chile mixture through a medium-mesh strainer into a bowl.

2. Browning the meat and onion. Heat the oil in a medium-size (4-quart) pot (preferably a Dutch oven or Mexican cazuela) over medium-high heat. When hot, add the ground beef and onion. Stir, breaking up clumps, until browned thoroughly, about 10 minutes. (If there is lots of rendered fat, tip it off and discard.)

3. Finishing the chili. Add the chile puree and stir for about 5 minutes as the mixture thickens and concentrates all those rich flavors. Stir in 2 cups water and simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Add tomatoes, beans, masa harina and salt. Partially cover and simmer gently over medium-low, stirring frequently, until the sauce has reduced to coat the meat rather thickly, about 30 minutes.

Serve with shredded Chihuahua cheese, sour cream, chives, tortilla strips and cilantro for each person to add to the chili as they want.

So we also made, well Jason also made some jalapeno cheddar biscuits. They were supposed to be chipotle cheddar biscuits but we couldn't find the chipotle chili powder in the store. Crazy since we live right by this one that has a huge huge Mexican section. Well, anyhow. He bought some jalapeno cheddar cheese to use instead and they turned out so so amazing. This recipe is also from the Baked New Frontiers in Baking. I would highly recommend this book as now we have had two phenominal things from it. Went great with the chili.

Chipotle Cheddar Biscuits

- makes about 20 small biscuits -
Adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito.


2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chipotle powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups grated and tightly packed sharp cheddar cheese
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 large egg
Kosher salt for topping


1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, pepper, chipotle powder, sugar, baking powder, cream of tartar, and the 1 teaspoon of salt.

3. Add the butter and, using your hands or the back of a wooden spoon, work the butter into the dough. The mixture should look like coarse sand. Add the cheese and stir to thoroughly incorporate it into the dough.

4. In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and egg. Add to the flour mixture and stir until just incorporated. Do not overmix.

5. Use a small ice cream scoop or a 1/4-cup measuring cup to scoop the dough and drop it in mounds onto the prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Sprinkle with kosher salt and bake in the center of the oven for about 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through the baking time, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of a biscuit comes out clean.

6. Transfer the biscuits to a cooling rack. The biscuits can be served slightly warm or at room temperature (we like them slightly warm).

7. Store the biscuits in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

Just a side note from the book. They do mention that the chipotle powder may add a suprising intensity for some people and to reduce it a little if desired. I am not sure how it is since we couldn't find it. The jalapeno cheddar wasn't really spicy at all. It was so so good. A little sprinkle of kosher salt on top added a nice touch I must say.

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