Green, red. Tomato, tomAto

November 29, 2013
Cook’s Country – October/November issue
Colorado Green Chili

131129chili
Uhm, yeah, so, after this pic was taken, I piled like 5,000 times more cheese on top! 😀

Brrrr!!! It’s COLD outside! Like bone chilling cold, like long-John cold, like needing the fireplace rip-roaring, hot cold, like craving chili cold!

In this house, we like our chili. We like it thick, we like it bursting with poppy red vibrance, and crowded with beef, kidney beans, tomatoes, onions and green peppers – all done at the hands of Chef Big Ring. But in November, I took on the hearty chili challenge. Instead of red, I went green.

Or, so that was the plan.

The recipe I started out with – Colorado Green Chili – is not the recipe I ended up with. More like Nevada Brown Chili, a mix between Colorado and Mexico. I had no idea what Anaheim peppers were, and neither did the fruit store. Google told us they were similar to regular peppers, so we went with those – a handful of red, orange and green peppers. So long green chili.

Note: Days later we discovered the supermarket (of all places!) had a huge variety of around the world peppers, including Anaheims. D’oh!

As per the recipe’s instructions, the peppers were to be roasted, then skinned, which I found extremely tedious. But I’m sure it probably had something to do with the flavour as the end product was filled with textured smokiness. However, once they were roasted, there really wasn’t much there. And so, I figured, seeing as how I’d already veered from the recipe with the peppers, I may as well go whole hog in altering the base recipe. There wasn’t any guarantees I wouldn’t poison us along the way, but hey, where’s the adventure without a little bit of unknowing fear right 😉

131129jalapeno
That said, I was NOT taking my chances with the jalapeños this time around. Thank heavens for rubber gloves!

So, out came the kidney beans, mushrooms, onions, green onions, tomatoes, sausage, and cheese – a LOT of cheese!

This chili was not the chili intended, nor was it the chili I’m used to, but it was decent enough. (Big Ring gave it an 8 out of 10… his is hands down a tasty, belly warming 10.) Mine, however, did have a swift kick of spice that knocked you in the back of the throat (just what you need on these cold, wintery evenings) and a super tasty hit of lime that I would never have thought to include in chilis of yore. In fact, that may very well become a staple for all future chilis.

And I did learn something pretty valuable in the cooking realm with this recipe. BROWN the ground beef FIRST to avoid food poisoning! Big Ring had a look of fear wash over his face when I asked if I was to brown the beef first or just cook it all at once. Hey! I’ve never once said I know cooking. But now, I know that 😀

Ingredients:
3 pounds boneless pork butt roast, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (I used grass-fed, grain-finished ground beef from a Chilliwack farm and chorizo sausage instead)
Salt
2 pounds (10 to 12) Anaheim chiles, stemmed, halved lengthwise, and seeded
3 jalapeño chiles
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 onions, chopped fine
8 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups chicken broth
Cayenne pepper

1. Combine pork, ½ cup water, and ½ teaspoon salt in Dutch oven over medium heat. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover, increase heat to medium-high, and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until liquid evaporates and pork browns in its own fat, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer pork to bowl and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, adjust 1 oven rack to lowest position and second rack 6 inches from broiler element. Heat broiler. Line rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with vegetable oil spray. Arrange Anaheims, skin side up, and jalapeños in single layer on prepared sheet. Place sheet on upper rack and broil until chiles are mostly blackened and soft, 15 to 20 minutes, rotating sheet and flipping only jalapeños halfway through broiling. Place Anaheims in large bowl and cover with plastic wrap; let cool for 5 minutes. Set aside jalapeños. Heat oven to 325 degrees.
3. Remove skins from Anaheims. Chop half of Anaheims into ½-inch pieces and transfer to bowl. Process remaining Anaheims in food processor until smooth, about 10 seconds; transfer to bowl with chopped Anaheims. Pulse tomatoes and their juice in now-empty food processor until coarsely ground, about 4 pulses.
4. Heat oil in now-empty Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onions and cook until lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in garlic and cumin and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Stir in broth, Anaheims, tomatoes, and pork with any accumulated juices and bring to simmer, scraping up any browned bits. Cover pot, transfer to lower oven rack, and cook until pork is tender, 1 to 1¼ hours.
5. Without peeling, stem and seed jalapeños and reserve seeds. Finely chop jalapeños and stir into chili. Season chili with salt, cayenne, and reserved jalapeño seeds to taste. Serve with lime wedges.

Serves 6

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