Chili Con Carne

The good folks at Cook’s Illustrated say their Chili Con Carne serves six, but they are lying. If you make this, count on serving four and having enough left for tomorrow’s lunch. And you will want some tomorrow for lunch, because it’s so darn good. The following is the version I made, complete with tweaking. The original called for toasting and grinding the peppers, but I am lazy busy, so I just used the powder. And I only used one jalapeno rather than 5 because I’m a sissy.

Chili Con Carne
3 tablespoons ancho chili powder
3 tablespoons New Mexico chili powder
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano , preferably Mexican
7 1/2 cups water, divided
1 beef chuck roast (4-pounds), trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 teaspoons table salt , plus extra for seasoning
8 ounces bacon (7 or 8 slices), cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 medium onion , minced (about 1 cup)
5 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 small jalapeño chile, cored, seeded, and minced
1 can tomato sauce
juice from 1 medium lime
3 tablespoons cornstarch

Mix chili powders, cumin, and oregano in small bowl and stir in 1/2 cup water to form thick paste; set aside. Toss beef cubes with salt; set aside.

Fry bacon in large, heavy soup kettle or Dutch oven over medium-low heat until fat renders and bacon crisps, about 10 minutes. Remove bacon with slotted spoon to paper towel-lined plate; pour all but 2 teaspoons fat from pot into small bowl; set aside. Increase heat to medium-high; saute meat in four batches until well-browned on all sides, about 5 minutes per batch, adding additional 2 teaspoons bacon fat to pot as necessary. Reduce heat to medium, add 3 tablespoons bacon fat to now-empty pan. Add onion; saute until softened, 5 to 6 minutes. Add garlic and jalapeno; saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add chili paste; saute until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Add reserved bacon and browned beef, crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce, lime juice, and 7 cups water; bring to simmer. Continue to cook at a steady simmer until meat is tender and juices are dark, rich, and starting to thicken, about 2 hours.

Mix corn starch with 3 tablespoons water in a small bowl to form smooth paste. Increase heat to medium; stir in paste and simmer until thickened, 5 to 10 minutes. Adjust seasoning generously with salt and ground black pepper. Serve immediately, or preferably, cool slightly, cover, and refrigerate overnight or for up to 5 days. Reheat before serving.

In other news, Rockford got an email today from someone peddling The Cat Loft, which allows your furry friends have their very own space without infringing on your comfort. It’s a co-sleeper for cats. Which makes me giggle very much.

The New Apartment Shuffle

1. The Good Times Are Killing Me … Modest Mouse
2. Rubberband Man … The Spinners
3. Chains … Mercury Rev
4. Fred Jones Part 2 … Ben Folds
5. There’s a World … Neil Young
6. Are You Ready for the Country? … Neil Young
7. Monk’s Dream (Take 8) … Thelonius Monk
8. No More Lonely Nights … Paul McCartney & Wings
9. A House … The Doves
10. Hewlett’s Daughter … Grandaddy
11. Bodhisattsva … Steely Dan
12. Burden in my Hand … Soundgarden
13. Is Heaven Good Enough …. Allison Moorer
14. Emperor of Wyoming … Neil Young
15. A Song for Europe … Roxy Music

And they say the iPod isn’t intuitive.