Texas Chili and Dogs
Today was yet another BEAUTIFUL summer day in Anchorage. 70 F and still the sun is shining and 10:22pm. One of those rare days that makes visitors from Outside decide to move North. Suckers.
I have been craving chili for the longest. My Dad taught me how to make his version a long time ago but it really wasn’t all that good. Sorry Dad. Basically tomatoes, beans, hamburger, and a pre-packaged mix of spices and cayenne. I have been looking for something a little more traditional and authentic. A recipe that has enough spice to make you crave a cold beer, or three.
Flipping around on the DVR I found an episode of Tyler Florence on Chili. Sweet. His meals are usually pretty good. So I gleaned from him what I could and then put my own two cents into tonight’s meal.
Start with chills. These are dried New Mexico Reds.
Cut off the stem and grind these up in the spice grinder, seeds and all. This stuff smells amazing and is so much better than anything called “chili powder” that you will find on the spice aisle.
Set this aside and get started on the meat. I used stew meat. Toss into a hot heavy bottom pot with just a little oil. I should have done this in batches but too late for that. I just cranked the heat to high so as to get some sear on the meat. Once it was browned I tossed in 2 diced yellow onions. Now start adding in your spices. I put in the freshly ground chilies, 1 tsp each of coriander, cumin, paprika, and Mexican oregano. Then just a small pinch of cinnamon, 8 or so cloves of garlic, 4 chipotles, and 1 diced jalapeno. Stir this around and use the moisture from the onions to deglaze your pot.
When the onions have turned translucent add in a couple Tbsps of tomato paste and a 28 oz can of diced tomatoes.
Stir to combine and turn the heat way down. Cover with a tight fitting lid and forget about it. Actually don’t forget about it. Stir about every half hour. Be sure that nothing sticks to the bottom. A wood spoon is the very best tool for this kind of thing.
This simmered away for just about 2 hours. When the meat becomes fall apart tender you are almost done. On some chili cookoff I remember seeing that most competitors did two spice dumps. So after tasting I went for another round of spices. The rest of the chipotles in adobo, cumin, coriander, oregano, and some more cinnamon. Then take your potato masher and get medieval on you meat. Squish the hell out of it. Basically you are breaking down the stew pieces into a mash of deliciously tender strands of braised beef.
Mr. Florence suggested thickening with masa harina but no need for that here. This stuff was perfect. Even with a whole can of chipotles with the adobo, the heat was fairly mellow. The cinnamon gives the heat a nice sweet balance. Now for the kicker. I had grabbed some Hebrew National dogs (you know “We answer to a higher authority”). These were tossed on the grill. Wishing that I had bought the 1/4 lb version.
Toast your buns and top with chili, onions, and lots of cheese.
Why is it that spicy food tastes so good when it is hot and sunny outside?
I know that this might seem like a lot of effort for just a chili dog. Sometimes you just get a taste for something and nothing else will satisfy. Tonight was one of those nights. Don’t forget the beer. I suggest something cheap and ice cold.
How do you take your dog?