I’ve been looking for a different chili recipe for quite a while now. While I do have my go-to, which is a ground-meat version, although very good, I wanted something with a little more soul. I came across this recipe from The Washington Post. I loved the way it looked and all of the ingredients made it sound wonderful. Well, the anchovies did not but I do know they impart a nice undertone to food and add saltiness so I put aside my fright and bought a little can. By the way, my dog LOVES anchovies. Needless to say, this is not my recipe in any way, shape or form but it is delicious as well as beautiful and would like to share it with you.
I call this a molé sauce because it has the dry chile and cocoa which are two ingredients in molé. One thing I changed up is, I used dry savory instead of oregano. One, because I don’t like oregano and, two, I didn’t have any oregano. I do, however, have a huge bag of savory that my husband got for our Christmas filet roast and I try to find any reason to use it. But, use whatever you like, I don’t think it makes a difference in the end. I also wasn’t sure what espresso powder was and since I had a bag, or brick, of ground espresso from our trip to Italy, I used that. I assume it’s the same thing. Again, it made no difference that I could tell.
I was able to purchase most of the ingredients in the supermarket but I had to go on a little search for the dry ancho chile but, luckily, we have a wonderful Mexican grocery in town and they had bins and bins of dried chile in many varieties. Next time I think I will buy all of my Mexican products there.
After happily leaving the grocery and hitting the liquor store for a lovely bottle of Sangiovese, which has nothing to do with this post, I headed home to get started. I wanted to make it a day ahead so the flavors had a good 24 hours to meld. This recipe does take time but is totally worth it.
Yield: Makes about 13 cups
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 or savory
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
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. Note: This part worried me a bit because they were immediately hardening upon transferring them to the plate, but the hot broth in a next steps took care of that.
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.