Chili Verde

Locally pastured pork butt and chopped yellow onions are browned in a bit of pure leaf lard, then slowly simmered for hours in a base of homemade chicken stock with roasted tomatillos, jalapeños, poblanos and garlic.  Seasoned with toasted cumin & coriander, Mexican oregano, sea salt and cracked black pepper..

Chili Verde may be served with any number of toppings or accompaniments; grated cheese, diced onions, and sour cream are common toppings, as are broken saltine crackers, corn chips, cornbread or rolled-up corn or flour tortillas, though I often just serve it as-is alongside of pot of Frijoles charros.

Thunder Heart Bison Chili

Free-range, pastured American bison, onions, garlic, chilies, homemade stock and a selection of herbs and spices simmered on the back burner for hours..

For the All-Important Stock

2 pounds meaty, cross-cut oxtail
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup onions, chopped
2/3 cup celery, chopped
2/3 cup carrots, chopped
1 cup Madeira
8 cups cold, filtered water
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1/2 tablespoon peppercorns
1-1/2 tablespoons fresh thyme

Scatter the chopped vegetables in a cast iron skillet.  Place the oxtail sections over the vegetables and top each with a spoonful of tomato paste, then place the skillet in a 350 degree oven and roast until the meat is brown, the tomato paste has caramelized and the fat has rendered, about 75 minutes.

Use a slotted spoon to transfer the meat and vegetables to a heavy-bottomed stock pot, leaving the fat behind.  Pour in the wine and enough cold water to cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and skim off any foam.  Add the garlic, peppercorns and thyme and slowly simmer until reduced in volume by half, about 6 hours.

Strain the stock through a fine mesh strainer and store in clean glass jars for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 1 year.

For the Chili

1 pound bison stew meat
1-1/2 cups onions, chopped
2 tablespoons beef tallow
1 teaspoon cracked cumin seeds
2 teaspoons cracked coriander seeds
1 quart brown stock, divided (from recipe above)
1 14.5 ounce can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup New Mexico chili powder
1/4 cup smoked paprika
1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
1 teaspoon chipotle powder
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/2 tablespoon granulated piloncillo (optional; use if the chili powder tastes bitter)
1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon dried lemon peel, crushed (cuts through the fat and brightens the dish)

Melt the tallow in a Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering.  Add the meat without crowding (you may need to do this in batches) and brown on all sides.  Add the onions, cumin and coriander and cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add 2 cups stock, tomatoes, paprika, chili powders and oregano and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until the bison is tender, about 1-1/2 hours. Add remaining stock a little at a time as the chili reduces and thickens.

Add the piloncillo, cocoa and lemon peel, stir and simmer 20 minutes.

Ladle finished chili into bowls, top with Queso Manchego and chopped cilantro and serve immediately.

Help make a difference!  Please pledge to use only Animal Welfare Approved products in your recipes this winter.

Black-Eyed Bean Chili with Cornbread and Wild Texas Guajillo Honey Butter

More commonly known as black-eyed peas, this subspecies of the cowpea found its way to the Virginias via the West Indies in the the 1600’s before becoming an important Texas crop following the American Revolution.  Extremely high in protein and minerals, black-eyed beans remain culturally important throughout the American South..

Black-Eyed Bean Chili with Cornbread and Wild Texas Guajillo Honey Butter

For the Cornbread

1 1/2 cups stone-ground yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup organic all-purpose flour, soaked
2 pastured eggs
8 oz culture butter, melted
1 cup cultured buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon aluminum-free baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder (optional)

Melt butter and allow to cool slightly.  Whisk in eggs and beat until well blended.  Combine buttermilk and baking soda and stir into egg mixture.  Stir in cornmeal, flour and salt and mix until only a few small lumps remain.  Pour batter into a greased 8″ square dish and bake at 375 degrees until just done, about 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to stand 10 minutes before cutting into serving portions.

For the Guajillo Butter

1 1/2 tablespoons wild Texas guajillo honey
3 tablespoons cultured butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
pinch of salt

Beat all ingredients together in a small bowl until fluffy.  Store in refrigerator up to 2 weeks.

For the Chili

1 pound fresh black-eyes beans/peas
2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 Spanish onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon more-or-less smoked chili powder
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup fresh poblano pepper, chopped
3 dried New Mexico chilies, stemmed, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons ancho chili paste
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon oil
salt and pepper

Simmer beans in stock until just tender, about 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, toast cumin and dried chilies a a dry skillet until fragrant, about 5 minutes.  Add oil, garlic, poblano and onions and sauteé until lightly colored.  Add tomatoes, cinnamon, chili powder, cooked beans and enough stock to barely cover and simmer 15 minutes.  Stir in ancho paste and cilantro and simmer 5 minutes.

To serve, ladle chili into shallow bowls and place a piece of hot cornbread in the center.  Put a dollop of honey butter over the top and serve with hot sauce on the side (I like Cholula for this dish).

“Guajillo (or Huajilla) is a wild desert bush that is native to Southwestern Texas and Northern Mexico. The plant blooms in March and early April, and it is during this time that bees seek out the little blonde blossoms that give Guajillo honey both its unique flavor and color. Guajillo honey is crystal white with a pearly reflection like new milk or a very light amber color. Guajillo has an extremely delicate and distinctive taste that is described as very light, mild, rich, smooth and sweet, with a hint of lavender. The honey is cold centrifuge extracted, retaining the beneficial antioxidants and amino acids that would otherwise be depleted during a high temperature filtration process.”  –localharvest.org

This post is in support of Meatless Monday, whose goal it is to goal is to help reduce
meat consumption by 15% in order to improve personal health and the health of our planet.

Chili Cheese Grits

Tonight’s challenge was to make something nourishing, tasty and inexpensive using mostly SOLE foods (sustainable, organic, local and ethical).

These chili cheese grits, made from local grass-fed beef and stone-ground yellow grits succeed on all points, I think..

Chili Cheese Grits

Chili Cheese Grits

For the Grits

1/2 cup organic, coarse yellow grits
2 cups fresh whole milk
1/4 teaspoon organic turmeric (optional)
1/4 teaspoon organic annatto powder (optional)
1 small jalapeño, finely diced
1 tablespoon pastured butter
1 cup raw cheddar cheese, grated
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
sea salt and freshly-ground pepper
filtered water

Slowly bring the milk to a slow boil over medium heat.  Add grits in a slow, steady stream while whisking vigorously.

Add jalapeño (and turmeric & annatto if using), reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, until grits are cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Stir in butter, cheese and cilantro.  Thin with water if necessary and season to taste with salt and pepper.

For the Chile

1/2 pound 80% lean ground beef
1 tablespoon beef tallow
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1 small dried New Mexico or Ancho chile, stemmed, seeded and chopped
1/2 small white onion, diced
1 plum tomato, diced
1 tablespoon chile paste
1/4 cup filtered water
sea salt and freshly-ground pepper

Toast cumin seeds in tallow.  Add ground beef, dried chiles and onions and cook until browned.

Add tomatoes, oregano, chili paste and water and simmer 10 minutes.  Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary.

To serve, spoon chili into a bowl.  Make a well in the center, spoon in the grits and serve piping hot.

This post is part of The Nourishing Gourmet’s Pennywise Platter

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Vegetarian Black Bean Chili

Simmered black beans with red and white quinoa, toasted cumin, onions, tomatoes, New Mexico and poblano chiles, garlic, oregano and wedges of avocado, all served up in baked corn tortilla shells..

Black Bean Chili

Vegetarian Black Bean Chili

Soak dried black beans and quinoa in filtered water overnight.  Drain, rinse and cook in vegetable stock until just done.

Sauté cumin seeds, chopped chiles, garlic and onions in a heavy skillet over medium heat until browned and fragrant.  Add chopped tomatoes and poblano peppers and cook 5 minutes.

Add garlic, Mexican oregano, 1/4 teaspoon each cloves, allspice and cinnamon, cooked beans and quinoa and simmer 20 minutes; keep moist by adding bean-cooking liquid as needed.  Adjust seasoning with sea salt and freshly-ground pepper.

Meanwhile, lightly coat small corn tortillas with oil and press into the wells of a jumbo muffin pan.  Bake at 400 degrees until crisp and browned.

To serve, spoon chili into tortillas shells and garnish with avocado wedges, a squeeze of fresh lime and hot sauce.


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