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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Winter Warmer

We are trying hard to take more pictures of our food. It is not that we quit cooking or thinking of you all. Quite the opposite in fact. It seems like ages since I have posted and talked to you all. As I was cooking a chili that would offset the cold weather, the memories of enjoyable dialogue and sharing with you all flooded back.

The more I contemplate chili and the way so many of us relate to it, from the simplistic homage to hormel to the offspring of time and effort with countless ingredients, the more mysterious and central it seems. The varieties are as countless as there are mothers as was evidenced at our church chili cook-off. Everything from vegan pumpkin to a spicy beef pomegranate version. It strikes me that chili may be as close to Indian food as any one of us have ever tried, at least without the beef. All the glorious mix of textures and spices are combined to create a dish as integral to our childhoods as it is warming in the middle of winter. It feels awfully good to be blogging again, and I certainly hope you can circle the table for a steaming bowl of chili in the near future.
Mahogany Port Chili

2 tsp. fresh ground coriander
1 T smoked paprika
1 tsp. vindaloo
8 deseeded and rinsed ancho chiles
5 deseeded and rinsed guajillo chiles
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
1 T sea salt
2 T cocoa powder
3 small yellow onions diced
4 garlic cloves minced
2 T raisins
1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
24 oz. 85/15 ground beef
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
3 T ruby port
2 T canola oil plus more for sauteing
2 T masa harina
3/4 C grated cheddar cheese for granish

Combine port, chiles, peppers, oil and raisins in a food processor. Pulse until pureed. Meanwhile brown the ground beef with the canola oil for about 6 minutes. Remove beef from the pot and saute the onion, garlic, and ground seasonings in the beef drippings until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add tomatoes, beans, beef, pureed chile paste, bay leaves, and cinnamon stick. Mix until a rich red color is achieved then add the cocoa powder to bring the chili to a dark mahogany color. Cover and simmer over low heat for approximately 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the masa harina and stir to combine well adding a pinch more to thicken if needed. Enjoy with a sprinkle of sharp cheddar cheese.