Monday, November 12, 2012

Dark Pot Roast Chili

Today is Veteran's Day and a day off for many.  The Brave Astronaut clan is planning on celebrating with some other families - we often have a "play date" on these federal holidays.  With the weather turning colder (shh, don't tell Mrs. BA - she hates the fall), it's getting to be chili weather.

There was a good article in the Washington Post food section a few weeks ago, which included this recipe.  It sounds like it's worth a try.

Dark Pot Roast Chili
The Washington Post, October 24, 2012
Summary: The flavors of this chili, intense and deeply dark from cocoa and espresso powders, mellow during its low and slow cooking. Cooking the chuck roast whole gives you the option of serving it as pot roast (that gravy would be incredible over mashed potatoes) rather than shredding the meat for chili. And you can use your oven or break out the slow-cooker (see NOTE). 

If you're a chili purist, omit the beans, but Process columnist David Hagedorn says they give the dish extra body and protein, plus eye appeal. Salvadoran crema, richer and thinner than sour cream, makes a great accompaniment, along with traditional garnishes of grated cheese and chopped scallions. 

A chef's secret: Anchovies add an extra element of depth to a dish, as well as salt. 

MAKE AHEAD: The chili improves if it's made a couple of days ahead of time so the flavors can meld. It can be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months. 

Makes about 13 cups (8 servings)

For the spice mix:
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons smoked Spanish paprika
  • 1 tablespoon espresso powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons dried minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons salt 
For the chili puree:
  • 6 dried ancho peppers (4 ounces total)
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo, such as La Morena brand 
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 4 oil-packed anchovy fillets
  • 3 cups low-sodium beef broth, heated, plus 5 cups broth at room temperature 
For the chili:
  • 3-pound chuck roast, trimmed of excess fat and patted dry with paper towels
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 large yellow onions, chopped (4 cups)
  • 6 ounces canned tomato paste
  • 4 ounces canned green chili pepper, such as Hatch brand
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1 small bunch thyme, tied together with kitchen twine
  • Two 15-ounce cans no-salt-added black beans, drained and rinsed 
  • 8 tablespoons Salvadoran crema or sour cream, for garnish 
  • 1/2 cup grated pepper Jack or extra-sharp cheddar cheese, for garnish
  • 4 whole scallions, trimmed and chopped, for garnish
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, for garnish 
For the spice mix: Combine the chili powder, cocoa powder, smoked paprika, espresso powder, garlic powder, minced onion, crushed red pepper flakes, cumin, oregano and salt in a medium bowl.

For the chili puree: Heat the ancho peppers in a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium high-heat, turning them often, until they soften, puff up and char and blister slightly, about 2 minutes. Transfer the peppers to a plate to cool. When they are cool enough to handle, remove and discard the stems and seeds and transfer the peppers to a blender along with the chipotle peppers, garlic, anchovies and 3 cups of hot beef broth. Remove the center knob from the blender lid and hold a clean kitchen towel over the opening to contain any splash-ups. Puree for 1 minute, until the mixture is smooth.

For the chili: Preheat the oven to 225 degrees. Season the roast generously on both sides with salt and pepper.

Heat the oil in the Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the roast to the Dutch oven and let it cook undisturbed for 5 to 7 minutes, until it is well browned. Turn the roast over and brown for 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the roast to a plate or a slow cooker.

Add the onion, spice mix and tomato paste to the Dutch oven. Scrape up the browned bits from the bottom, stirring for 2 to 3 minutes to allow the spices to bloom. Stir in the chili puree, the remaining 5 cups of beef broth and the green chilies. Submerge the roast in the liquid and add any juices from the plate. Add the bay leaf and thyme. Cover, transfer to the oven and cook for 4 1/2 hours, until the meat is very tender, occasionally skimming off any fat that floats to the top.

Transfer the meat to a cutting board and let it rest for 10 minutes. Use two forks to shred the meat into bite-size chunks. Return the meat to the Dutch oven with the cooking liquid, add the beans and cook, covered, for 20 minutes.

To serve, discard the bay leaf and thyme bundle. Garnish each portion of chili with crema, grated cheese, scallions and cilantro.

NOTE: To make this in a slow-cooker, place the roast in the slow-cooker after browning it. After cooking the onion, spices and tomato paste and adding the chili puree, broth and green chilies, stir to combine and pour over the meat in the slow-cooker. Add the bay leaf and thyme, cover the slow-cooker and cook on HIGH for 4 1/2 hours. Shred the meat as directed, return it to the slow-cooker with the beans and cook for 20 minutes.

Recipe Source: From The Process columnist David Hagedorn.

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