Some folks were asking for the recipes from our annual Summit Staff Chili Cook-Off at the end of February. Now, not everyone used Summit beer in his or her recipes; the only requirement was some kind of fruit. Since tomatoes are technically a fruit, everyone was pretty much eligible. An esteemed panel of us acted as judges, tasting all the chili side-by-side. This year’s competition was one of the best yet, the fruit challenge brought out a lot of creativity! Here are our winners’ recipes:
Lamb Chili with Garam Masala
Charles Jones, Racker (fills all those kegs!)
2 lbs. lamb shoulder
27-oz. can of tomato puree or Mexican-style tomato sauce
1 cup dry red wine
12-oz. can of beef broth or stock
15-oz. can of dark red kidney beans
15-oz. can of Mayo Coba beans
1 large or 2 medium fresh poblano peppers, diced
1 large or 2 medium yellow onions, diced
4-6 cloves garlic, finely diced
15-oz. can diced tomatoes
1 fresh serrano or 1/2 habanero pepper, finely diced
Garam Masala (an Indian spice blend containing coriander, black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, chamushka, caraway, cloves, ginger & nutmeg)
2 bay leaves
Generously sprinkle all sides of the lamb shoulders with salt, black pepper and Garam Masala. Cover and set the meat aside in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Heat about 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a Dutch oven or soup pot. Brown the lamb, 3 minutes each side. Remove the meat; add a little more oil and sauté the onion over medium heat for about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to sauté for a couple more minutes, until the onions are soft and translucent. Do not burn them.
Return the lamb to the pot. Add the chili powder (at least 1 tablespoon), some oregano, the wine, the beef stock, tomatoes, fresh peppers, bay leaves and another dose of Garam Masala. The liquid should completely, or nearly completely, cover the meat. Add more stock or wine if necessary.
Bring the pot to a boil then reduce the heat to a low simmer. Simmer the pot for about 2 hours, turning or basting the meat every 15-20 minutes. Continue until the meat becomes tender and separates easily from the bone.
Remove the meat and shred it using two forks. Cut away and discard any fat, gristle or any other tough tissue, as well as the bones.
Return the meat to the pot and simmer another 30 minutes. At your whim or discretion you may always add more Garam Masala at any point in the cooking process.
Add the beans and simmer another 30 minutes.
By this time the liquids should have formed a rich, luxurious and thick gravy. Add more liquids or simmer longer to achieve your ideal texture.
The chili is now complete but will improve by sitting overnight. Now savor the opulent and exotic aroma of your entire house or apartment.
Remove the bay leaves.
Serve the chili with fresh, chopped cilantro and any or all of your favorite toppings or condiments. Enjoy with a fresh, warm tortilla or naan bread.
NOTES, CONFESSIONS AND DISCLAIMERS:
Please be aware that I do not consider myself a real chef and I have no formal training or professional experience in cooking. I am a self-taught home kitchen hack. (The same could be said for my writing.) No doubt the more advanced and educated of you will find some of my choices and methods unusual, ill advised, or even heretical. I take no offense to these sentiments and encourage anyone to amend, alter, eliminate, or even ignore any of my techniques or suggestions. (I do, however, humbly point out that I won the trophy.)
I also caution that the recipe, methods and ingredients are all recorded here from memory. I did not assemble my chili with a written, formal, or exact schedule. The cooking times, the ingredient lists and amounts are all approximations. No guarantees are made that following this recipe will accurately duplicate the chili I served on February 28.
Good luck and best wishes to you all,
Great Northern Porter Chili
Jill Kittock, Afternoon Receptionist
6 slices thick-cut smoked bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 or 2 celery stalks
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound ground beef, cooked and drained
A few ounce mild chorizo
1 bottle Great Northern Porter
1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (24-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (24-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with juice
1 tablespoon apricot jam
1 heaping tablespoon cocoa powder
1 chipotle chili in adobo chili plus some sauce to taste
Pinch of brown sugar
In a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium heat until lightly crisp, stirring occasionally. Once the bacon is browned remove a few tablespoons of the grease leaving just enough to cook the vegetables. Reserve grease in case you need to add more. Add the garlic, onions, red bell pepper, chili powder, cumin, chipotle chili powder, oregano, paprika and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook until the vegetables soften. Add the cooked beef and stir. Add the chorizo and cook for roughly 5 minutes. Stir in the beer and beans. Toss together, and then add the crushed and diced tomatoes. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper, if necessary. Add more cocoa for a deeper flavor. Add pinch of brown sugar if you like.
Emily’s recipe will come soon, she has to remember what she did!