Beef Chili With Sweet Corn Chow Chow
There is nothing wrong with making chili with ground beef, but using beef cubes adds more dimension: unlike ground beef, I can sear the pieces until caramelized, which gives the braise a deeper, more complex flavor. I also cook the chili slowly in the oven so the meat is tender and the pickled hot peppers have mellowed in the sauce.
According to food science expert Harold McGee, soaking beans before cooking them not only allows them to cook better, it also reduces that less-than-comfortable side effect of eating beans. After soaking, I parcook the beans and then add them to the beef to finish cooking. if the chili is too brothy when it comes out of the oven, simmer it on the stove until the sauce thickens.
2 cups dried black beans
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
8 ounces Beef Bacon, diced
2 pounds beef chuck or shank, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 onions, diced
1 carrot, diced
7 or 8 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon cumin seeds, toasted and coarsely ground
1 tablespoon sweet smoked paprika
4 cups canned tomatoes
6 cups beef stock
1 cup Grilled and Pickled Hot Peppers (page 37 in The Preservation Kitchen), drained and diced
1 pint Jar Sessions Sweet Corn Chow Chow
1 pint Pickled Candy Onions (page 25 in The Preservation Kitchen)
2 to 3 cups grated Cheddar cheese
1 to 2 cups Creme Fraiche
Soak the beans in water to cover for at least 4 hours or overnight. Drain the beans and place in a pot. Cover the beans with cold water, bring them to a boil, and drain. Cover the beans once again with cold water, bring to a boil, and lower to a simmer. Cook for 30 minutes, then drain. (The beans will be partially cooked.)
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 300˚F. In a large, ovenproof 8-quart Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, warm the grapeseed oil. Add the bacon and cook until it barely starts to brown, 2 minutes. Season the beef chuck with salt and pepper, add to the pot with the bacon, and sear until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Stir in the onions, carrot and garlic and cook until the vegetables soften, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the tomato paste, cumin and paprika and cook for 1 minute more. Pour in the tomatoes and stock and bring the pot to a boil. Stir in the hot peppers and beans, the cover and place in the oven. Cook the chili for 2 1/2 hours, then remove the lid and continue to cook until the meat is completely tender, another 30 minutes. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if needed. You should have about 16 cups. If the chili is too thin, put it on the stove and simmer it (uncovered) until the sauce thickens.
To serve, ladle the chili into large bowls. Set out the chow chow, pickled onions, Cheddar and creme fraiche at the table and let guests garnish their chili to their liking.
From The Preservation Kitchen, page 265