Chunky Beef Chili

I can’t say that we ever get really cold weather, but some days when it is overcast and the wind is whipping off the ocean, it is fairly cool. On those days I really love a good stew or soup – or even better, chili.

Early this week I had all the ingredients needed to make a mean chili.

San Clemente 8.3.2013 005The first thing I did was make a spice blend of dried chili peppers.

San Clemente 8.3a.2013 004A friend brought these back from the states, I have only seen dried chili peppers in a small open air market in Quito three years ago. It is not something that you would find at Super Maxi on a regular basis. But adding different types of ground dry peppers adds not  so much heat but intense flavor to your chili sauce. Even when we were living in the US and able to find all sorts of prepackaged chili mixes I still added this special touch to bring an authentic quality to my chili.

Beef Chunk Chili with Fresh Red Beans

  • 1 to 1 1/2 lbs of Lomo Fino (tenderloin of beef) cut into bite sized pieces (I know, steak, but we pay $2.50 / lb. off the truck for it)
  • green and red peppers cut into chunks
  • tomatoes cut into quarters
  • 1 lb of fresh red beans, washed and picked through
  • red onion cut into quarters
  • carrots cut into large pieces
  • garlic crushed
  • celery cut into large pieces
  • 2-3 Tablespoons of chili seasoning (see recipe below)
  • large bunch of cilantro chopped fine (save 2 tablespoons for sprinkling on finished chili)
  • vegetable oil for browning meat
  • 1/2 Cup of red wine (drinking variety not cooking wine)
  • 4 cups of beef or vegetable stock (fresh is best but a few cubes in water will work)
  • pepper
  • salt and dried red pepper flakes to taste…if you used stock cubes use salt sparingly

First I took one of the large New Mexico Chilies and three of the smaller Chili Japones peppers and with scissors cut them into small strips, seeds and all. Added 1/2 teaspoon of my dried yellow pepper flakes but first dry cooked them on low heat on the stove until I started to cry and Joe needed to leave the house…To this I added cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, black pepper and garlic powder. Honestly I have no real measurements so use your imagination. Do not burn, just gently sauté until you can smell the spices. Set aside to cool. Add this cooled mixture to a coffee grinder or a mortar and pestle and grind to a fine powder.

Brown the meat with a small amount of vegetable oil in a large pressure pot until the meat is colored on all sides and the juices are sealed in. Do this step in stages so as not to crowd the pan or you wind up boiling the meat. You want to seal in the juices so the heat should be high and the oil hot. Remove meat and set aside. Turn up the heat and add the red wine to deglaze the bottom of the pot. Add the balance of the ingredients plus the meat back to the pot, stir and bring the liquids to a boil. Turn down the heat and secure the lid. After the pressure valve begins to rock, cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour depending upon the amount of veggies added. Remember do not overfill the pressure pot. Keep the heat low and the pressure valve rocking slowly or your food will scorch to the bottom of the pan.

I do not like seasoning with salt until the meat is completely cooked. Taste for seasoning and add salt and extra red pepper flakes at this time.

San Clemente 8.3.2013 007Sprinkle balance of cilantro on chili and serve with rolls or crackers. Honestly this is a great dish and can be made ahead and refrigerated for several days to intensify the flavors even more. If you are not into spicy, use more of the dried peppers and less of the hot pepper flakes and cayenne. Buen Provecho!

14 thoughts on “Chunky Beef Chili

  1. This sounds delicious … love the fact that you translate and use Spanish terms … did you take Spanish in Ecuador or earlier? Any recommendations for a Canuck travelling south to your Paradise this winter. I will either study before I leave or for the first while we are there.

    • Hi Barbara, When we moved to Panama in 2006 we knew Hola, honestly that is all we knew. We listened to the Spanish CD’s for hour after hour before we moved but it just did not sink in. We are not good now but we know a great deal of words. Most folks are so kind and even with our awful Spanish skills they try very hard to understand what we want. I would suggest the basics first, greetings, hello, good morning, evening etc, how to ask about a price, asking for your bill at a restaurant, knowing the words for thank you, pardon me, can you help me, food names like eggs, bread, coffee, sugar…basic numbers 1-20, 25, 50, 75, 100. If you plan on shopping for food basic veggie and fruits names, so much will be different from what you have in Canada you can just point and folks will tell you, normally I would ask if it is fruit or veggie. Also, no matter where you are even in Ecuador folks pronounce things different, if you can get the basics down before you get here you will do okay. When you get here there are many folks that teach Spanish classes and if you start talking to the locals you will pick up words fast. Honestly we cannot put a long sentence together but don’t let it worry you too much. You will learn the language in your own time, work on it as best you can, when you get here buy the newspaper and try to read it. So many words are similar to English. Keep one big thing in mind, your attitude of being open, caring, kind makes a difference in how the locals will treat you. Be well, Nancy

  2. My neighbor has roots from Hawaii. She adds pineapple chunks of all things. It works. You could win a Chili Cook Off with yours..

    • I am not sure about winning but I would give a valiant effort…not sure about pineapple but we do have it here almost all the time so I would consider trying it maybe with the next batch I make. Thanks for your comment, N

    • Hi Steven, Well today I am making sourdough bread with sourdough started that I made from kefir…we will see how it turns out and then I will do a post. Honestly the chili was excellent using a variety of chiles really makes a difference in the depth of the flavor. And using steak is not a bad idea either. Thanks for your comment on the language…getting all worked up over not knowing enough Spanish will make you a miserable is not worth it. I sometimes think my lack of Spanish is a good thing for personal reasons, not that I want to get away with anything, but just to be able to stay out of trouble….ha ha Have a great day…N

  3. Nancy, that chili looks like just what the doctor ordered! I’ve had a summer cold for over a week and I bet a bowl would cure me. It looks so delicious. Oh boy, nap time, I’m going to grab my kindle and curl up with the dogs. John

    • John, a man among men, chili for a cold and a nap with the dogs…You know how to retire!!! I am waiting on my neighbors that are visiting in the house in front of my garden to wake so I can water my plants. They are here vacationing and must sleep in, I hate to wake someone who is here to relax and enjoy their vacation but if they are not moving by 8 I am going to set up the sprinkler and do it anyway…Today is a trip into Jacinto, running to the cooperativa, visit to the pharmacy and lunch at Copacabana!!! I see viche (biche) in our future!!! Then home for a nap!!!!! Have a great day and thanks so much for your comments. N

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