Friday, November 7, 2008

Melting Pot Slow Cooked Chili

We landed at London's Heathrow Airport the evening of the U.S. presidential election. I had cast my vote the day before by absentee ballot, in my town clerk's small, wood paneled office. Beside me were others who were leaving town or just trying to avoid the predicted long lines. After doing my civic duty I went home and packed for London. Getting the election news in another country brought a new spin on the historic decision. The whole world was watching. The BBC reported that the country of fast food and short attention spans, patiently waited in lines to make their vote count. The election brought to surface the large melting pot of cultures and tastes in our diverse country. Before I sat down to read the international newspapers take on the election, I made a big pot of slow cooked chili. For culinary and political punch, I added a Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat beer to the pot. This chili has its own cultural tastes that is truly American.

Melting Pot Slow Cooked Chili

1 lb chuck roast
1 tablespoon oil

2 cups chopped onions
1 cup yellow and red peppers
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon "Diane's Fire Breathing" chili pow
pinch of cinnamon
1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

32 oz beef broth

28 oz can of ground crushed tomatoes
16 oz kidney beans

16 oz black beans

1 bay leaf

12 oz Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat beer

In a large heavy s
tockpot, brown the chuck roast, over medium heat, in 1 tablespoon of oil. Take out and put aside while sauteing the onions, peppers and garlic. Return the roast to the pot and add the salt, chili powder, pinch of cinnamon, ground cumin and smoked paprika. Stir and then add the beef broth, ground crushed tomatoes, beans and bay leaf. Turn the heat down to low and slow cook for 2 hours or until the beef is tender and comes apart easily. Take the beef out of the pot and pull apart into small pieces. Adjust the seasonings for heat and saltiness. Return the beef to the pot and continue cooking over low heat for 1/2 hour to 45 more minutes.
Makes 8 servings.
*Homemade chili powder is easy to make and really makes a huge difference.

Diane's Fire Breathing Chili Powder

Increase the "fire" by slowly adding more of the ground peppers

1 tablespoon ground ancho chilies
1 tablespoon ground cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon ground chipolte pepper

3 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon ground dried oregano
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon salt

Mix all ingredients together, being careful not to breathe in the pepper. Store in an airtight container. Makes approximately 3/4 cup.

Top chili with chopped cilantro, scallions and freshly grated cheddar cheese. Serve with southern cornbread or corn tortillas and guacomole. Yum!

Written and photographed by Diane

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