I’m not crazy about chili. I don’t know why, but it’s not something that sets me off the way it seems to everyone else. Granted, I’ve been served plenty of chili that’s bland and flavorless, under-seasoned and made with pre-ground meat that doesn’t offer the tender, beefy texture a real chili should have.
While I’m sure some of you swear by the addition of a whole crispers worth of vegetables, lots of beans, tomatoes and grains (you healthy buggers!), I’m just not there with you. Chili is meat. Meat, a pantheon of fresh ground spices, beer, coffee, golden brown onions and one type of bean, if any. I like it pure, untarnished by outside flavours, rich and filled with chunks of slow-braised beef shoulder. And if one bite of celery, or god-forbid KALE, gets in the way of my meat, I’ll be none too impressed. Vegetables have their place and time and dagnabbit, it’s not in my chili!
This recipe is chili the way I like it. It’s deep brick red in colour, impossibly rich and creamy and rather than a full crisper, it packs almost a whole spice cabinet’s worth of flavour. The chocolate may seem off if you haven’t added it to your chili before, but it gives the it a creaminess and richness that will explode your world.
Stuffing this chili goodness into a baked potato isn’t totally necessary, but it IS totally delicious and makes the meal a little rounder. If you prefer the chili on it’s own, I guess I can accept that.As long as you promise to pile it extra high with toppings. I’ll sleep better at night knowing that.
Beef Shoulder and Black Bean Chili stuffed Baked Potatoes
Fresh spices make a world of difference in the flavour department here, but if you’ve only got pre-ground that’s perfectly fine, too.
3lbs well-trimmed beef shoulder (blade steaks/chuck roast), cut into 1/2” cubes
2 tbsp flour
salt & pepper
2 large onions, diced
5 large cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp fresh ground cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander seeds
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
2 tbsp dried oregano
3 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp (or less) ground chili pequín or cayenne pepper
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup strong brewed coffee or espresso
1 330ml bottle stout
1 cup beef stock or water
2 oz bittersweet chocolate
1 can black beans, rinsed and pureedor whole (optional)
2-4 tbsp favourite hot sauce
Manchego, Old Cheddar, or Sovrano cheese
Thin-sliced green onions/chives
Sour cream or Yogurt
Minced red onion
Extra hot sauce
Set a dutch oven or large heavy-bottom pot over med-high heat and add a few turns of canola oil. In two batches, toss cubes of beef with flour and a few pinches each of salt and pepper and throw into the hot pot. Let beef brown all over, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate.
Once meat is all browned and removed from the pot, add another drizzle of oil and the onions. Cook until nice and golden, 5-6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add all the spiced and the tomato paste and cook until paste is caramelized, 10-12 minutes. It will be extremely fragrant at this point (which is a really, really good thing!). Add the meat back to the pot with the coffee, beer and stock (or water) and chocolate. Bring to a boil scraping the stuck-on flavour at the bottom of the pot. Add the black beans and hot sauce and turn the heat down to a simmer. Cook for 3 hours or until beef is extremely tender. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, if needed.
If you’re stuffing baked potatoes; Preheat oven to 375 and wrap 4 russets in foil one hour before chili is finished. Pop into the oven and forget about them for an hour or until a fork goes easily through the potato. Cut the tops off, scoop out a little of the fluffy potato goodness and stuff those suckers with plenty of Chili.