Monday, January 17, 2011

Mole Ocho Chili

I'll be the first to admit that I’m not really much of a football fan, but all of this talk about the upcoming Super Bowl has been making me crave a big bowl of chili.  Since I almost always have ingredients on hand to throw together a quick pot of chili, it was very easy to satisfy my craving this past weekend.

Even though I usually prefer to to use as many fresh ingredients in my cooking as possible, I always have a variety of canned beans and canned tomatoes on hand.  Pair those two ingredients with some ground beef (or just skip the meat altogether), chopped fresh veggies, and some good quality chili powder and you’ve got an easy, healthy, hearty, and inexpensive meal that just about everyone loves.

For this batch of chili I used a combination of light kidney beans, dark kidney beans, and pinto beans because I think it’s fun to mix things up a bit.  But you can really use any kind of beans you like or whatever you find knocking around your own pantry.  You can think of this chili recipe as a guideline and then put your own twist on it.  You can use more meat, less meat, no meat or you can swap the beef for some ground turkey or a soy option.  If you want to leave the meat out, you could add an extra can of black beans instead.  You could also add more onions and pepper and maybe even throw in some chopped carrots for some more color.  It’s entirely up to you.

The end product was really great.  "Really great" as in from here on, my chili will forever be made with beer.  The sweet chocolate and toffee notes of the Mole Ocho really tempered the acidity of the tomatoes and the spiciness of the jalapeños in this recipe, while adding a wonderful depth of smoky, chipotle flavor that came out more and more as the chili simmered.  We ate this with some Pandemonium Cornbread on the side and it was a perfect meal.  And since it makes so much, you can keep a few servings in the freezer for a rainy day.  Pure joy.

Here's what you'll need for this recipe:

1-1.5 lbs ground beef
1 large onion, diced (I used red onion)
3-4 jalapeno peppers, deseeded and diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp vegetable oil
28 oz can diced tomatoes
6 Roma tomatoes, diced
2 cubes beef bouillon or paste
12 ounces New Holland Mole Ocho beer (or more, if desired)
3 tbsp cumin, ground
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cayenne, ground
salt to taste
1 can light kidney beans
1 can dark kidney beans
1 can pinto beans

Brown the beef over high heat, breaking up the clumps. Set aside. Heat vegetable oil in the pan intended for the chili, and sauté the garlic, onion, and peppers until onions are translucent. Add the beef, beef bouillon, and tomatoes. Stir and let simmer until tomatoes begin to break down. 

Pour in the Mole Ocho and simmer the chili covered for about 45 minutes.  After 45 minutes, you can add the spices and simmer for 30 minutes and then add the beans (I like to include the liquid from the beans to thicken the sauce a bit) and simmer for another 30, or add the spices and beans at once and simmer for 30 minutes.  I find that simmering it longer really helps to bring out more flavors (it tastes even better the next day!), but if you're like me, the smell will become too much to handle and you won't be able to wait much more than an hour and 45 minutes!  Serve hot, and don't forget the Pandemonium Cornbread and extra Mole Ocho!

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