[Note: I edited this post February 16, 2016 to update the recipe link]
I’ve made El Cid Chili many times in the past few years; it was one of the first things I learned to cook. I’ve made it at my work’s winter holiday party every year and it disappears quickly so I’ll take that as a good rating. But I’ve never blogged about the process; that was about to change. After a two year hiatus when my man card was revoked because we went to the opera on Superbowl Sunday instead of watching the game, we threw a pot luck party. Everyone brought something. We had olive tapenade spread, little crab and cheese bruschetta, wings, chips and dip, Cheetos and M&Ms. I made El Cid chili for half time eats.
I found an original link years ago; there are many links now as it has spawned across the interweb. I’ve adjusted the recipe over the years and made quite a few adjustments this year. You can find my recipe here I timed the steps so you can tell what you are in for. It takes some time but I hope you’ll be pleased with the results.
First line up all the ingredients for the feast. This is everything you’l need:
|The line up.|
1. Traditional Red Chili is defined by the International Chili Society as any kind of meat or combination of meats, cooked with red chili peppers, various spices and other ingredients, with the exception of BEANS and PASTA which are strictly forbidden.
If you have beans in your pot you have stew or pork and beans or something; but you do not have chili.
It took 54 minutes from the time I walked into the kitchen until I had everything in place. Now that is quite a bit longer than it would really take you because I posed the pictures and did all the mis en place before starting the cooking. In reality you can cut the mean and onion and prep the later parts once you get things sautéing.
|Prepped and ready to go|
The basic recipe calls for sautéing the top sirloin in oil for 6 minutes in small batches so you get good browning and not just braise the meat. Try cooking the bacon bits first and using the bacon fat. It’s really interesting to watch the liquid foam up and then evaporate leaving beautiful browned meat from the Maillard reaction. Check out that beautiful fond which we’ll deglaze later with beer. Seriously do NOT overcrowd the pan; you can do this in 2 batches but 3 is better.
|Sauté the steak in small batches|
As the beef batches are done move the bits to the Dutch oven or large cast iron pot. Then add a bit more oil or fat if necessary and brown the chorizo, hamburger and chopped onion for about 8 minutes.
|Chorizo, hamburger and onion|
After 8 minutes create a hole in the middle of the tasty bits in the skillet and add spice set 1 to the empty space, stir everything up for 30 seconds to a minute until the aroma fills the kitchen. Add it all to the Dutch oven. Deglaze the pan with 1/2 bottle of beer and add the sauce to the Dutch oven. It took about 40 minutes from the start of the sauté to the end of deglazing.
Add the cinnamon stick, bay leaves, cilantro, jalapeños, beef broth, tomatoes and a little salt. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 2 hours; you don’t want big chunks of tomato in the chili so take time every once in a while to smash the tomato bits against the side of the pan. Do not taste it yet; you’l be disappointed; it needs a couple of hours to turn into chili.
|Start of the simmering.|
You can do a couple of things with the corn meal. You can add it with the liquids at the beginning of the simmer, Or , after simmering for 2 hours, make a loose paste of the corn meal, spice set 2 and a bit of water. Stir that into the chili along with lime juice and a bit more salt if needed. Simmer for another 30 minutes. It will really thicken and turn a dark brick red.
|A bowl of red.|
Remove the bay leaves, jalapeños, and cinnamon stick. Serve with cheese and/or sour cream. The dairy will help tame the heat. Some cornbread on the side would be fantastic. Dianne made a great Tex-Mex cornbread that set off the chili perfectly.
I think chili is one of those dishes every man should be able to cook. If this recipe doesn’t suit your fancy, to to the ICS web site and pick from one of the award winners. Or you can check out Dad Cook’s Dinner for his recipe.
As the chili was simmering folks started showing up for the party.
Mark prepared his crab and cheese bruschetta. Delicious.
|Mark prepping the crab and cheese bruschetta for the broiler|
Carla finished a needle point project a couple of months ago and Dianne helped her turn it into a pillow. Here they show the finished product to Christie and Kim.
|Carla, Kim (standing) Christie, and Dianne|
|Pillow that Dianne and Carla made from Carla’s needlepoint.|
Some of the treats. I didn’t get Herb’s wings in the picture. He made a delicious home made barbecue sauce to simmer them in. They were just right; bite down and give a bit of a tug and you are rewarded with a fantastic bit of wing and sauce.
|Some of the snacks|
|Mark, Bud, and Herb awaiting kick off.|
Rating: ★★★★★ 5 out of 5 stars. One of my few “signature” dishes.