Five Buck Chuck Week 2

Welcome to Week 2 of Five Buck Chuck! This weekend I stewed up a nice spicy chili. For this Chili Con Chuck I added strong coffee and a lick of molasses, and turned the heat up without choking T. 

Chili con carne, or chilis with meat, describes the original idea.  Yet, I've read and listened to endless arguments about what defines a true chili. Authentic Texas chili lacks beans while Cincinnati chili is a Macedonian inspired goulash.  White chili typically contains chicken,  colorless beans, and tomatillos.  Up here in the north I've endured many bowls of unrecognizable, bean-laden, flavorless, hamburger water referred to by the cook as "chili."

Once, a very long time ago, I won a chili contest. My secret was grilling all of the ingredients before combining them for a long, slow simmer. I marinaded the meat in the same spices I use for fajita meat, including chili powder, lime zest, and tequila. I used every chili pepper available, and ended up with a complex 17-pepper winner. Over the years I've kept that approach after learning the hard way that adding too many spices muddies the flavor (because whatever definition you abide by, chili ought to posses flavor).

Chili Con Carne
6-8 servings

2 pounds chuck roast, seasoned with salt, pepper, chili powder
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
Juice from 1/2 a lime
A few tablespoons of tequila
Olive oil
1 white onion, chopped
2 cups of any variety of chili peppers, chopped (use your favorite and choose according to color and heat)
3 canned chipotles, diced
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 - 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup strong coffee or espresso
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon molasses
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
Cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper

Bring roasting pan to high heat; add a bit of olive oil and sear seasoned meat on all sides. Add stock, lime juice, and tequila; cover pan and bake in a 300 degree oven for four hours or until roast is tender.

Less than an hour before the roast comes out of the oven, heat stock pot to medium high. Saute onions, peppers, and chipotle in a bit of olive oil 5 - 10 minutes or until soft; salt and pepper as they cook. Add garlic and cook an additional 30 minutes, covered.

Remove roast from oven and pour braising liquid into grease strainer. Set meat aside to cool 10-15 minutes; shred meat. Add meat and de-greased braising liquid to stock pot. Simmer 30 minutes. Thicken with masa if desired.

Garnish with sour cream, cheese, avocado, lime wedges, cilantro, and additional chili peppers.


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