This past weekend, a friend of mine invited me out to her beach cabin to enjoy a relaxing time with friends. A group of people, you know what that means!? I get to cook! Of course, I cook all the time for myself, but it is far more fun when I get to cook for people. Especially when they are my friends and we get to sit around a table and share something together. I decided to make a big pot of chili.
Since I was not cooking in my own kitchen, I thought some about clean up, the amount of pots I would be using, and also how many ingredients I would need. Chili seemed an obvious choice. Since, I always tend to take things up a notch, I incorporated some special ingredients; chipotle peppers, beer, and honey.
First, my wonderful and talented sous Chef and boyfriend Ben seared pieces of beef in a very hot pan with oil. Don't be afraid to get it really hot. The goal is to quickly sear the edges of the meat and then remove from heat so when the beef slow cooks it absorbs the moisture in the chili and traps the juices inside. Once the meat was removed, we sauteed onions and garlic in the little brown bits left over from the meat, which is called fond, which adds big flavor to the dish. Then, to add even more flavor, because it's all about flavor, I added one bottle of Deschutes Black Butte Porter then simmered it with the onions until the beer completely evaporated. The onions were sweet and tasted as if they were roasted with chocolate. In the steps ahead, after adding the beans, diced tomatoes and some chicken broth, we seasoned the chili with chili powder, cumin, chipotle peppers (in an adobe sauce) and a tablespoon of honey to add sweetness. The chili simmered for another couple of hours until the meat was fall apart tender and all the flavors melded together. The result, a delicious, savory meal that was sweet, smokey, and spicy all at the same time. To cool our mouths we topped the chili with cumin sour cream, crumbled cotija cheese, and a delicious avocado relish. On the side, we served red pepper and cheddar cheese cornbread. I wont be forgetting this meal for awhile!