31.1.14

Beef & Pork Chili with Beer

Everyone has their own version of chili, the all-American comfort food of choice during this Superbowl season. Aside from the basic ingredients of beef mince and kidney beans and chili powder spices, I like mine porked up, with the yummy trinity of bacon, ham and pork mince to amp up the richness. In addition, I dunk in a bunch of mushrooms for an earthy base. You can opt to spice up yours with your favourite stuff, like carrots (for a sweeter finish, take about 10 baby carrots, diced to 1cm lengths and added before step 4 below just before the mushrooms), capsicums (for a peppery kick, take 1 pepper and dice to 1cm cubes and fry with mushrooms below), and beans (for a nuttier element, take 1 can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed and add at step 7 below).

This is a great party food that you can prepare in advance, so you get to mingle with guests without having to hover in the kitchen all night. In fact, I actually prepare this the night before a party, pop it in the fridge overnight to maximise the flavours of the stew, and pop it out to warm up half an hour before guests arrive. 

Ingredients
1 large yellow onion, minced finely
600gm mince (Purists will use just beef for this, but I prefer a two-thirds proportion of beef mince to one-third portion of pork mince)
1 can diced tomatoes

Optional stuff:
Mixed Mushrooms (1 portobello, 3 brown and 3 white button mushrooms), diced roughly
5-6 slices bacon (you can use either back bacon or streaky, I prefer streaky for its fattier oil renderings), sliced to 1inch squares
3-4 slices ham, sliced to 1cm squares

Seasoning

1 tbsp hot sauce (you can use tobasco)
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp paprika
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tbsp ground cumin

Beef stock, unsalted so you can salt to taste
1 can Budweiser beer (this is the "secret fairy dust" that makes the chili "pop")


Directions:
1) Heat 2 tbsp olive oil with bacon until fat renders from bacon. Dish up bacon, leaving the oil drippings behind.

2) Fry onions in bacon fat until they sweat.

3) Add ham and fry until fragrant.

4) Add bacon and mushrooms and fry until mushrooms cooked through.

5) Add mince and fry until browned.

6) Add spice seasoning and toss thoroughly.

7) Add diced tomatoes.

8) Add stock and beer, and simmer for an hour, stirring at 10 minute intervals to ensure the bottom doesn't burn. The longer the chili gets to stew, the punchier the flavour..

9) Salt to taste and "rest" the chili for about 5 minutes before serving.

You can also opt to load it with sour cream, freshly shredded lettuce, diced avocados, diced onions, chilli flakes and/or shredded cheddar. For us, we like it shashouka-style: breaking an egg into a bowl, dish the chili atop, and let its residual heat cook the egg softly, and top it off with chilli flakes and shavings of Comte. 

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