Flaming Death Chili
0-1.5 pounds animal of your choice (beef, turkey, buffalo, sausage, etc.), cubed or ground.
1 Medium onion, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp dry parsley flakes, or 1 bunch fresh, chopped
Chili peppers, chopped (see note)
4 15oz cans beans (red or white kidney beans, or black beans, or mix 'n' match), drained.
1 6 oz can tomato paste
red wine and/or vinegar
2 tsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp ground pepper
1-2 Tbsp oregano
1 tsp tarragon
1 oz unsweetened chocolate
Utensils: 5-quart cast iron dutch oven. Large wooden spoon or spatula. Knife.
Brown the meat and set aside to drain. If the meat left any grease, use it to brown the onions, else toss in a wee bit of oil. When the onions have begun to brown a bit, add the garlic, parsley and chili peppers, stir quickly, do not burn either the chili peppers or garlic. Stop the sauteeing with some wine, water, or a water/vinegar mix (about 1/2 cup should do). Return the meat. Add the beans, and fill one of the cans with water and add. Add all other ingredients and stir well. Cook over low heat for at least 2 hours, adding water as necessary.
Note on chili peppers: Dry peppers will have a more immediate heat, fresh peppers tend to take a little more time to have their effect on the mouth, so it's best to mix. I prefer 6 fresh serranos, 6 fresh jalapenos, and 2-4 chipotles (smoke dried jalapenos). Reconsitute dried chilis in hot water for at least 15 minutes before chopping them (don't forget to pour the water into the chili!). Serranos are hotter than Jalapenos, but Habaneros are the hottest. Anaheim (a.k.a. California or New Mexico) have a medium heat. Use what's available. If you only have dried chilis, soak them in a water/vinegar (plus wine, if wanted) mixture, heat in the microwave, then set aside at least over night. For fresh chilis, remember that the seeds and membranes have the greatest heat.
Vegetarian Alternative: Use reconstituted dried mushrooms (fresh are too watery, dried never regain all of their moisture content, so tend to be a bit more chewy, which is desired) to add some "meat" to your meatless chili.
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