Monday, October 8, 2012

Cook Something: Everything and the Kitchen Sink Chili


  • This chili is pretty involved; the active prep time took me right around an hour. But the results are 100% worth the effort.  I'd be surprised if you've had better chili with less work.
  • The ingredient list is bonkers, so much so that I refrained from telling Jason what all was in it until after he gave me the "this is the best chili you've ever made" seal of approval.  There are around 5 things that will make you say huh and about 3 that will make you say what the hell.  Trust me, you want the weird ingredients.  They'll provide a complexity and depth that you probably didn't think was possible in chili and you can have fun contests to see if anyone can pick out the ingredients.  My prediction? They won't.

So on to the chili.  Fall (or winter for us Texans) rolled in this weekend.  The high on Saturday and Sunday barely made it to the mid-50's, which is pretty cold for early October.  It was also drizzly and just overall kind of gross outside.  I'm an admitted seasonal eater so naturally the only thing I wanted to do was snuggle under the blankets and eat a giant bowl of chili.

Everything and the Kitchen Sink Chili
Adapted from here.  Note: I made very few changes to the original recipe.  And if your interested in why the weird ingredients are in there, check out the explanation here.


  • 2 cans red kidney beans, drained not rinsed.
  • Dried Chiles (look for them in the produce section) either
    • 3 whole Ancho/ Pasilla OR 2 New Mexico red, California, Costeno, or Choricero, seeded and torn into 1 inch pieces; and
    • 1 while Cascabel, Arbol, or Pequin chile, seeded and torn in half.
  • 5 lbs bone-in beef short ribs
  • 2 tbl vegetable oil
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 2 whole anchovy filets
  • 1 tsp Worchestersire sauce
  • 2 tbl soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tbl whole cumin seeds, toasted, then ground
  • 1 1/2 tsp whole coriander seeds, toasted, then ground
  • 2 whole cloves, toasted, then ground
  • 1 star anise, toasted, then ground
  • 1 tbl extra fine ground coffee beans
  • 1 tbl unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 1 serano, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbl dried oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 28 oz diced tomatoes, keep the juices
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tbl buffalo style hot sauce (like Frank's)
  • 2 tbl dark brown sugar
  • Garnishes, some I recommend:
    • Cheese
    • Green Onions
    • Sour Cream
    • Corn Bread
  • Add dried chiles to a Dutch oven or large stock pot and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until the chiles slightly darken.  Make sure they do not smoke/burn.  Remove and set aside.
  • Season short ribs generously with salt and pepper.  Add oil to the Dutch over and heat over high heat until smoking.  Seriously, you want it hotter than you think.  You want the meat to immediately sizzle when put into the pot.  Working in batches, brown all sides of the meat.  Do not overcrowd the pan!  It took me three batches.  Once browned, transfer to a baking sheet.  Pour the fat out of the Dutch oven and reserve.  Allow ribs to cool.
  • Turn the heat to medium-high and add 1 cup of chicken broth to deglaze the pan.  Use a wood spoon to scrape the brown bits of the bottom off the pan.  Bring the stock to a simmer and add the chiles.  Simmer the chiles until softened, around 5-8 minutes.  Add the chiles and stock to a blender.  Add the Worchestershire sauce, soy sauce, ground spices, coffee, and chocolate.  Blend on high until the mixture is pureed.  I just left it on high for a couple minutes and chopped the onion.  Set aside.
  • Heat 4 tbl of the rendered beef fat in the Dutch oven over medium heat (if you don't have enough, just use extra vegetable oil to make up the difference).  Add the onion and cook for several minutes until translucent and soft, but not browning, approximately 6-8 minutes.  Add the serrano, garlic, and oregano and cook for one minute, until fragrant.
  • Add the chili mixture to the Dutch oven and cook until mixture sticks to the bottom of the pan, approximately 2-4 minutes.  Add the chicken stock, beef bones, and bay leaves.  Bring to a simmer and scrape the bottom off the pan to loosen the browned bits.  Reduce heat to the lowest setting and cook, covered, with the lid slight ajar for 1 hour.
  • After the hour, add the cider vinegar, tomatoes and beans.  Cook with the lid slight ajar, until the meat has fallen off the bones, which should take between 2 to 3 1/2 hours.  Don't rush this part. You want the meat to cook low and slow so that it is tender.  Once tender, use tongs to remove the bay leaves the bones.  I also rough chopped any large pieces of meat.  Add the hot sauce and brown sugar and stir.  Season to taste with salt and pepper, although I didn't feel the need to add any.

Top with the garnishes and enjoy!  I know it's a long and complicated recipe, but I really suggest giving it a try.  You will not be disappointed!

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