New Mexico Red Chile Pepper Chili

Call me a practitioner of blasphemy, but I prefer beans in my chili.  Always have, always will.  And I also eschew the trendy “cubed meat” chili….don’t get me wrong, if I have an odd pork chop or steak in the freezer, I’ll cube it up and add it to chili…but I consider it sacrilege to cut up a perfectly good tenderloin to make chili.

Until the Iguana Man introduced me to the real thing (New Mexico Red Chile Peppers)….I’d always made my chili (without a recipe) with a variety of purchased, ground chile powder.  The results were passable, but now that I’ve mastered the art of the New Mexico Red….look out world!  New and improved (and drop dead simple) chili:

Ingredients:  2 lbs. Good Ground Beef (Costco) or 1 lb. Ground Beef & 1 lb. Ground Pork;  3 Cans of Beans (I like to mix them, dark kidneys, pink kidneys, even black, or pintos…whatever you like), or a lb. of dried beans, follow instructions to soften;  12 Large New Mexico Red Dried Chile Peppers (I buy the Badia peppers when my supplier in NM is slacking, now conveniently available at WalMart);  4 Ancho Chiles; 2 Chipotle Chiles (dried, not canned) 2 Medium Onions, chopped fine;  8 Cloves Garlic, chopped fine; 1 tbsp. Gound Cumin;  2 tbsp. Beef Base; 2 Bay Leaves; 1 tbsp. Mexican Oregano; 2 tbsp. Honey; 1/3 cup Chocolate Chips (optional).  Kosher Salt & Freshly Ground Black Ground Pepper to taste.

Serve With:  Grated Cheddar (white is my favorite); Jumbo Dipper Fritos; Sour Cream; Diced Onion; Guacamole; Yummy Beer.

In a large pan, using a bit of oil if your meat is very lean, saute the ground meat, breaking up into small chunks, until cooked through and lightly browned.  Add the chopped onions and garlic, and season with salt.  Continue to saute until the garlic and onion become translucent.  Reduce heat to low.

Remove the stems and most of the seeds from the chile peppers (the more you remove, the milder your chili will be).  Add to a saucepan, with approximately 4 cups of water.  BTB (bring to boil), RTS (return to simmer), until the chile peppers are soft and pliable, about 3 minutes.

Once the peppers have softened, put them a food processor, reserving all of the chili water.  Add some of the chili water, and process until smooth.  Continue to add chili water until the chile paste is the consistency of thick ketchup.  Pour this liquid into a the meat mixture pot, and bring to a good simmer, stirring occasionally for at least 30 minutes.

Add the bay leaves, cumin, oregano, beef base, honey, chocolate, beans (with the liquid if using canned beans).  Use as much of the reserved chile water as you need to get a nice, thick consistency.  Cover and simmer very low, for at least an hour (longer is better), stirring occasionally.  Taste and correct seasoning with salt (and pepper) to your taste.  The beef base is fairly salty, so I wait until an hour into cooking to add any more salt.  Remove the bay leaves before serving.

~ Blonde Gator

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