Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Susan's Chili

After days of wondering what I was going to make with the dried guajillo chilies sent by Marx Foods, I decided to make my own chili powder and use it in my go-to chili recipe, which I came up with a few years ago after several trial batches. People have their own ideas about what makes real chili...meat, no meat, beans, no beans and on and on. This is my version. My family absolutely loves it, I have taken huge pots of it to family gatherings and come home with no leftovers and I've been asked for my recipe several times. Substituting the guajillo chili powder for the regular stuff from the market gave it a, subtle smokey flavor which I didn't expect but was a nice surprise. I had to track down more guajillo chilies in order to make enough chili powder. The quality of the chilies sent by Marx Foods was so much better than the ones I found at a local market! 

Guajillo Chili Powder (makes approximately 1/4 cup) 
by Susan Whempner

15 dried dried guajillo chilies 1 Tablespoon coriander seeds 
1 Tablespoon garlic powder 
1 teaspoon oregano
Preheat oven to 250. Cut off the stem from each chili, then cut down one side to open the chili up so you can remove the seeds. Place the peppers flat on a baking sheet (you'll have to do this in batches), and bake for 10 to 15 minutes (they will smell heavenly as they roast). Remove from the baking sheet and cool completely. I noticed they were still a little pliable when they were still warm, but as they cooled they became crisp...you want them to do this. 

Meanwhile heat a dry skillet over medium heat, toss in the coriander seeds and toast for a few minutes. Place cooled chili pieces in a food processor or a blender, then add the other ingredients. I recommend processing the coriander seeds in a mini food chopper, or using a mortar and pestle or a rolling pin before you put them in the food processor with the guajillos (I learned this the hard way). Pulse the ingredients until they are ground into a powder. Viola! Your own homemade chili powder!

Susan's Chili (makes a lot) 
by Susan Whempner

2 pounds ground beef 
2 onions, diced 6 cloves of garlic, finely minced 
5 cups prepared black beans (or 4 cans if you're using canned beans) 
5 cups prepared pinto beans (or 4 cans if you're using canned beans) 
2 (28 ounce) cans petite diced tomatoes 
4 Tablespoons guajillo chili powder (or more to taste if you prefer) 
4 teaspoons salt 
4 teaspoons cocoa powder 
2 teaspoons cumin 
2 teaspoons oregano 
hot pepper sauce to taste (I always use 2-3 tablespoons of Cholula) 

Brown the ground beef with the onion and the garlic. Drain well. Add all other ingredients, bring to a boil, then simmer for a couple of hours. Top with finely diced raw onions and your favorite shredded cheese (I like a mix of cheddar and jack). Perfect on a cool fall or cold winter day, and don't forget the cornbread!

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