4 (4)

Healthy Eating, Mains

The judge's chili

The judge's chili
Los Angeles Times

Once upon a time, I entered a couple of small-time chili contests. Then, because I am a good-natured patsy, I agreed to judge a couple of contests. I learned to regret this. Take it from me, the heartbreak of losing ... Read more

Total time: 2 hours, 10 minutes | Serves 6
  • 2 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1/2 -inch pieces (trim off any large pieces of fat)
  • 7 cups (about) water
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 dried chile pasilla negro
  • 1 onion, cut into eighths
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons ground California chile (chile California molido), about 2 1/2 ounces
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 1 to 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Step 1Put the beef in a large saucepan, cover with water, bring to a boil and skim. Add tomato sauce and one-half teaspoon salt and simmer until the beef is tender, about 1 1/2 hours.

Step 2Open the chile pasilla negro, remove the seeds and stem and soak the chile in hot water until it softens. Discard soaking liquid. Puree the onion, garlic and chile pasilla in a food processor. Add the California chile and cayenne and process to a paste.

Step 3Melt one-half cup butter in a medium frying pan, add the chile paste and cook over medium heat 5 minutes, stirring often to prevent burning. Add the cumin.

Step 4Add the paste to the beef and cook 15 to 20 minutes more, stirring often. Taste and add 1 to 2 tablespoons additional butter, the sugar, vinegar and the remaining one-half teaspoon salt, or to taste, until the flavor is smooth.

Note: The chiles are available in Latino markets and the Latino food sections of supermarkets.


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