Thursday, January 13, 2011

Leon's Kick @$$ Chili

I am making my own recipe called Leon's Kick @$$ Chili for Alive After Five in Downtown Sanford on Thursday, January 13th. Alive after Five is a "second Tuesday of every month" street party held rain or shine from 5 PM to 8 PM on First Street in Sanford. The streets are blocked off and vendors set up along the street, giving out food samples. There is always a theme and this month's is Chili. There is actually a chili cook-off going on, though I don't have the time to devote to making that much food. Still, i will be serving my chili there at Art Affair Gallery, my usual hangout. This blog post is my recipe for all those who will stop by or who have stopped by if you're reading this afterwards.

So, without further ado, here is how I made mine!

Ingredient List
  • 4 # Chuck Roast, cut into 1/4 inch (or so) dice.
  • 3# Ground Beef (cheap is good)
  • 12 oz bottle Sam Adams Lager (or your favorite mild beer)
  • 2 large yellow onions, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 - 28 oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 - 12 oz can tomato sauce
  • 12 oz can tomato paste
  • 1/4 can chipotles in adobo
  • 4 Anaheim (or New Mexico) chiles, peeled
  • 4 Poblano chiles, peeled
  • 2 # dried navy (or other) beans
  • 2 Tablespoons Mexene (a chili powder blend)
  • 1 Tablespoon Oregano (as with all spices, I prefer Penzey's)
  • 2 Tablespoons smoked Spanish Paprika
  • 2 Tablespoons Ancho Chili Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon dry mustard
  • I Tablespoon ground coriander
  • 2 Tablespons ground cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon Chinese Five Spice
  • 2 squares bittersweet (unsweetened) Baker's chocolate
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Bean: soak the beans in 6 quarts of water overnight. Drain and rinse slightly. But in a large pot and cover with fresh water, add a bit of salt a pinch or two. Bring to a boil and simmer 60-90 minutes (depending on the bean you may need to adjust) until you can easily squish one between your thumb and forefinger. When you can, they are done. Drain and set aside.

Prepare the fresh chilies by roasting or charring on a grill, then let rest 15 minutes in a sealed bag. Pull off the skins, open and discard the seeds. Chop finely and set aside.

Brown the chuck in batches with a few teaspoons of vegetable oil in a medium-hot saute pan or large stock pot. Do not crowd. When nicely browned, remove to a separate dish and hold. As you are browning the chuck, begin adding the spices, some to each batch. You can adjust the spice to your liking, but remember it's hard to remove too much heat. You can always add more later, but do season each batch. Once the chuck is all browned, set aside and cover.

If your pan gets too much fond (the brown stuff), deglaze with a bit of the beer and add to the reserved meat.

Add the onion and a pinch or two of salt. Deglaze with the rest of the beer and cook until the onion is soft. Once soft, add the minced garlic and cook only 30 to 60 seconds, until fragrant. Do not burn the garlic, you'll be sorry.... Add the ground beef and cook until well cooked, adding more spices as you go.

Add the browned chuck and all the juices to the pot, then all the tomatoes and stir. Add the chile and the chipotles with adobo. Taste but be cautious about adding too much chile power. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer. Once simmering, add the beans and stir gently, then add the brandy and finally the chocolate. By now you should have added all the ingredients. Taste and adjust the heat with more chili powder if desired (I went light on the heat for this recipe, though I prefer more). Just before serving, taste and add any more salt, if needed.

Simmer the chili on low heat for 4 or more hours. Add a bit of beef broth if it gets too thick, or thin with some masa harina if it's too thin. It's actually better the second day and freezes well too.

To server, you can add shredded cheddar cheese, a bit of sour cream, and/or some chopped scallions. Serve with some tortilla chips, too, and your favorite cold beverage.

This recipe is definitely Good Eats. If you tried it, please leave a comment!


  1. good luck Leon!!! imma have to try this at home!

  2. are you competing in the orlando chili cookoff?