Hurricane Sandy came and went through our little town without much damage. We were really lucky; we lost some trees and our power for a day but were otherwise untouched. She did leave behind a craving for comfort food that I haven't quite been able to kick, although I'm sure the colder temperatures have something to do with that, too. Winter seems to have rolled in just behind Sandy and doesn't seem to be leaving anytime soon.
It's been an incredibly busy time for us this past week. There was Sandy, of course, which put my schedule back a couple of days and playing catch up wasn't easy. My parents arrived to close on their house here in VA (squee!!) which was also pushed back a few days due to Sandy. Once we got the go-ahead that the house really did belong to them, we all sprang into action to unload, clean and schedule the plumbers, roofers, oil company and others who will be part of our process in getting the house where it needs to be. It needs a lot of work but it will be such a great house once we're done!
In the middle of all that, I spent a day at Metro Cooking DC, where I taught two sessions on “Plating & Presentation”. It was a very long day but also incredibly fun! I love meeting new people and talking shop all day. I still have to pinch myself sometimes that this is my full-time job and no longer just a hobby.
But back to that comfort food. My sister and her kids spent the night last Saturday, along with my parents, so we had quite the full house. A good chili seemed like an appropriate dish since no one knew exactly when they were arriving. I made some corn cakes on the cast iron griddle, too, and (of course!) a pitcher of margaritas or two. This is one of my favorite chili recipes. You do need to simmer it for at least a couple of hours so the steak gets tender, unless you opt for a better cut. I like using a cheaper cut here though since simmering will get it nice and tender. And don't be tempted to skip roasting the poblanos – it adds such a nice flavor that you won't want to miss!
- 10 poblano peppers
- 4-5 pounds top round, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 red onions, chopped
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 T chili powder
- 1 T ancho chili powder
- 1 T chipotle chili powder
- 2 T ground coriander
- 2 T ground cumin
- 2 t smoked paprika
- 2 bottles mexican beer, not dark
- 4 15 oz. cans fire roasted tomatoes, diced
- 1 lime juiced and zested
- Blacken poblano peppers under broiler on all sides. Place in resealable plastic bag for 10 minutes or so; remove skin, stem, seeds and membranes. Chop peppers and set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a large dutch oven over high heat, sear meat in batches until well-browned on all sides. Do not overcrowd the pan or you will steam the meat instead of searing it! One layer at a time with room on all sides of the meat (I did mine in four batches and I had a large pan with lots of surface area; you might need to do this in five batches depending on size of your pan). Remove all meat once browned and set aside.
- Reduce heat to medium and add onions to pan (add a bit of oil if there is not enough fat). Scrape browned bits from bottom of pan and stir in with onions. Cook for 5 minutes, then add garlic and cook for one minute more.
- Stir in all your spices (adding a bit more oil if necessary) and cook for two minutes more. Add beer, tomatoes, poblano peppers, lime zest & juice and steak. Simmer on low heat for at least two hours or up to four.
- Serve in bowls with sour cream, grated cheese and extra lime slices on the side. I also like to make corn cakes in a griddle (just use the Jiffy brand if you like) and place on top of each bowl of chili.