Monday, October 28, 2013

Beefy and Hearty Two Bean Chili and Biscuits

Beefy n Hearty Chili with Bacon, Cheddar Jack and Garlic Biscuits

I know, tis the season to make chili!  The days days have gotten short, the shadows long by five o'clock, a crisp chill sets in after sundown, and you just want to sit down to a hearty, hot bowl of soup or chili.  In this recipe, i am sharing a quick and easy of my dad's chili.  I have omitted some of the ingredients he used in favor of ingredients I like.  I do make variations of this chili, however, like my dad did, and I will offer those variations as we go along. My dad's chili was a day-long project, but mine is less than two hours.  Ready?  

Here's the starting line-up:

  This recipe calls for two pounds of lean ground beef (93/7%)
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 slices thick cut bacon, chopped
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 tablespoon pasilla chile powder
1 teaspoons chipotle powder
1.5 teaspoons cumin powder (or, one teaspoon cumin seeds and one teaspoon powder
1.5 tablespoons smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1 teaspoon steakhouse seasoning
salt and pepper
1 4 ounce can of diced roasted green chiles
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 8 ounce can of fire roasted tomatoes
1 4 ounce can salsa ranchera
1 can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed thoroughly
1 can white pinto beans, drained and rinsed thoroughly
1 or so teaspoons honey
Juice of one lemon or 2 limes
1 box or can of chicken stock or broth (2 cups)

In a high-sided pot over medium-high heat, add the chopped bacon.  Season the bacon with a little pasilla pepper and ground black pepper. I always season bacon.  My secret to extra flavor!  When the bacon fat has rendered, remove all but about a tablespoon of the fat. If you think you might want to use it later or for something else, put it in a mason jar and refrigerate or freeze it.  Just a little tip.  It is great for sauce starters!  Add the two pounds of ground beef to the pot and brown.  Add the onions to the meat when it is about half way browned, adding salt to bring out the moisture of the onions.  Add black pepper, as well.  Add the garlic as the onions soften and start to become translucent.  Incorporate all of the above well.  Next, add the tomato products and the roasted green chiles. Stir thoroughly.  Next, add the salsa ranchera, the chicken stock and the spices.  Stir thoroughly.  Allow the mixture to come to a boil. Add the two cans of beans, drained and rinsed thoroughly, and stir them in well. When the chili comes to a boil again, reduce to a gentle simmer, partially cover and allow to simmer for an hour and a half.  Two hours, if you can. 

Now, my dad would use ground sirloin as well as a fresh, nicely marbled New York steak, which he first seared and then sliced into small bite-sized chunks.  My dad also used dry beans and washed them thoroughly and soaked them overnight.  He never used canned beans.  He often used fresh bell peppers.  I do not remember for sure, but I think he finely diced a jalapeno pepper, as well.  He also used tomato paste and, I am pretty sure, ketchup.  I would rather use more crushed tomatoes than paste and ketchup.  I would rather sweeten the chili by using honey to offset the spicy heat of the chili powders. That is just me.  You must use whatever method you prefer, or, whatever you have in your cupboard! I do!

Ready for the biscuits?  I have been making my biscuits from scratch, but, honestly, they are a little too dense, so I am going to give you my fall-back recipe.  To a large bowl, add 2 cups of Bisquick, 2 cloves finely grated garlic, 1/2 cup finely shredded cheddar jack cheese, 1-1.5 cups buttermilk, half a stick of ice cold butter, chopped into small cubes, and 1/2 cup of crispy peppered bacon, crushed into tiny bits after cooking. Combine the mixture thoroughly without overworking the dough. Using a biscuit cutter, cut out 1.5 inch circles and place onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 420 degrees for eight to then minutes, until golden brown on top.  Tip, brush the top with a little melted butter to enhance that golden brown, flaky biscuit top.  


 The dough smells amazing.  You can see the cheese and bacon bits.


 By now, the chili should be done.  Ready for that aromatic, warm, spicy comfort food?  Dip your biscuits in the chili sauce and enjoy the warmth of the garlic, bacon and cheese in the biscuits vs. the heat and spice of the meaty chili.  Top the chili with a sprinkle of cheese and tear up some cilantro or parsley and serve.  Such a happy, fulfilling meal.  Hope you enjoy it!


 One of my favorite photos ever.  The Jack Skellington mug is in honor of my son, Jack, who loves all things Disney.  This meal was for him!