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  • The worst thing about making great chili...

    ...is having to spend 45 minutes browning all the meat.



    I could do it faster by browning in two or three pans at once, but I have one that's my favorite searing pan - it has a really heavy copper bottom and holds heat like a mother****************er - so I really prefer that all the meat visit that one on their way to the crock pot.



    I also just realized that I have no beer suitable for deglazing in the house right now; all I have is a witbier and a really hoppy double IPA.



    Luckily, chili is a dish that lends itself to improvisation.



    CCSB.

  • #2
    Followed by browning the bowl, amirite?
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    • #3






      Quote Originally Posted by Valtiel
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      Followed by browning the bowl, amirite?




      Possibly, but if so, the liquor is more to blame.

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      • #4
        This tread is useless without recipes.







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        • #5
          Just chop all your onions and chiles while you're browning the meat. No "wasted" time that way.
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          • #6
            No need to brown the meat, at least for a legit chili. Maybe you would want to take the time to brown the meat if you are making a chili-style stew (think Wendy's), but if you are making a real chili you can skip the browning part because it will add nothing to the end product.



            Are you planning on adding lots of ground dried chilies?

            Are you planning on letting it simmer for a long time?



            Then just mix it all together and let it cook for a long time. Skim the fat off the top later before serving (or don't).
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            • #7






              Quote Originally Posted by jimSG
              View Post

              No need to brown the meat, at least for a legit chili. Maybe you would want to take the time to brown the meat if you are making a chili-style stew (think Wendy's), but if you are making a real chili you can skip the browning part because it will add nothing to the end product.



              Are you planning on adding lots of ground dried chilies?

              Are you planning on letting it simmer for a long time?



              Then just mix it all together and let it cook for a long time. Skim the fat off the top later before serving (or don't).




              I dunno, I like using chunks of chuck about 0.5-0.75" big, and browning them gives the meat a nice seared texture even after hours of cooking.
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              • #8
                I prefer veggie chili. Tempeh chili is teh bomb.

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                • #9






                  Quote Originally Posted by Sandy Cheeks
                  View Post

                  I prefer veggie chili. Tempeh chili is teh bomb.




                  Vegetarian chili con carne? Isn't that just chiles and water?
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                  • #10






                    Quote Originally Posted by metalhobo
                    View Post

                    I dunno, I like using chunks of chuck about 0.5-1" big, and browning them gives the meat a nice seared texture even after hours of cooking.




                    Gottcha -- my technique is geared for ground meat.
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                    • #11






                      Quote Originally Posted by jimSG
                      View Post

                      Gottcha -- my technique is geared for ground meat.




                      Then I can see how browning is pointless in your case. For the record, I love ground chuck in chili but I don't have a grinder at my disposal and the ground beef at the supermarket is way to fine for chili, so I stick to cubed meat.
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                      • #12






                        Quote Originally Posted by benjamin801
                        View Post

                        ...is having to spend 45 minutes browning all the meat.



                        I could do it faster by browning in two or three pans at once, but I have one that's my favorite searing pan - it has a really heavy copper bottom and holds heat like a mother****************er - so I really prefer that all the meat visit that one on their way to the crock pot.



                        I also just realized that I have no beer suitable for deglazing in the house right now; all I have is a witbier and a really hoppy double IPA.



                        Luckily, chili is a dish that lends itself to improvisation.



                        CCSB.




                        can I make a suggestion?



                        I nuke the meat for a while then saute it for a bit, drain the grease in a colander and save it for later.



                        I then cook small portions of the meat at high heat insuring that I'm browning it rather than steaming it.



                        It sounds like it would take longer but it's actually quicker.
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                        • #13






                          Quote Originally Posted by Sandy Cheeks
                          View Post

                          I prefer veggie chili. Tempeh chili is teh bomb.




                          veggie, meat, beans, no beans it's all good to me.
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                          • #14






                            Quote Originally Posted by metalhobo
                            View Post

                            Then I can see how browning is pointless in your case. For the record, I love ground chuck in chili but I don't have a grinder at my disposal and the ground beef at the supermarket is way to fine for chili, so I stick to cubed meat.




                            Yeah, I should have mentioned that too -- I grind my chili meat once through the coarse plate. I don't bother with a second grind because it ends up too fine for the chili. The ground meats from the supermarkets here are junk.
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                            • #15
                              Here's my chili con carne recipe, which I whip up about every month or two. Please try it - it's probably the best recipe I have. I'll type up the proportions for three pounds of meat, but it's easy to scale up or down depending on how big a batch you're making. Today, it was about 5.5 pounds of meat, because that was what was in the Costco package. Plus, it's chili, not puff pastry; this is not fussy stuff.



                              Ingredients:

                              - 3 pounds of meat, cut into roughly 1-inch cubes. Beef stew meat works fine for this, as does pork or lamb (or any mixture of the three), but I usually like to just get an inexpensive chuck roast and cut it up myself.

                              - 3 chipotles, minced fine, with accompanying adobo sauce from the can (maybe a tbsp or two).

                              - Chopped white onion, one medium onion or half a large one - about 3/4 cup finished product.

                              - 6 cloves garlic.

                              - One 12 oz. beer. For this, I like beers that are dark but not very hoppy - cooking with hoppy beer leaves odd flavors. When I lived in TX, Shiner Bock was the standard, but I made my first batch here in UT with Sierra Nevada Porter and it was fantastic. Whatever you do, don't just use a Coors Light or something; this is a big part of the flavor of your chili.

                              - 8 oz. chicken stock.

                              - 3 tbsp chili powder. I just use the store-bought stuff. It's backing up my flavors, not defining them, so I think the prefab stuff is perfectly adequate.

                              - 3 tsp ground cumin.

                              - 3 tsp black pepper.

                              - 3 tbsp tomato paste.

                              - One fat pinch of Mexican oregano.

                              - 3 tbsp masa harina, or a good handful of very crushed tortilla chips. We usually have masa harina around, for making tamales and such, but chips work equally well.

                              - Salt



                              Directions:



                              - In a large skillet on medium-high heat, with a tbsp or two of canola oil in it, sweat the onions and garlic with a pinch of salt. Once they're translucent and slightly soft, remove them from the skillet.

                              - In the same skillet, brown the meat well on all sides. Season the meat with salt as you go. (For three pounds of meat, this will probably take several batches, and be the most tedious and annoying step. Just dump each browned batch of meat into the slow cooker to make room for the next batch.)

                              - Once the meat is all browned and in the crock pot, crank the heat to high for 30 seconds, then deglaze the skillet with the beer. Let the beer foam and do its thing for a good minute while you scrape all the yummy bits off the bottom of the skillet.

                              - Drop the heat to low, then add the chipotles, stock, tomato paste, and spices to the skillet, stirring as you go. Let cook together 5-10 minutes.

                              - Empty the skillet contents into the slow cooker, add back the onions and garlic, and turn it on low. Stir to make sure all the meat is coated; it won't all be submerged, but it will cook down eventually.

                              - Let the chili cook for two hours stirring every hour or so, then taste and add salt if necessary. Add the masa harina or tortilla chips. (If you're using chips, make sure you stir them in and taste before adding more salt).

                              - Let the chili cook at least two more hours before eating, meaning four total hours in the crock pot.

                              - For service, I like shredded cheese, cilantro, and maybe a few fresh white or green onions on mine, and I'll eat it plain, or serve it over beans and/or rice.



                              ---------------------------------



                              That's the basic skeleton of the recipe. It's easy to make hotter or milder for specific people or occasions, and it's easy to substitute stuff based on what you have. Today, for example, I was beer-less, and just added more stock. Still smells great.

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