Let’s be honest. The only reason I watch (American) football is because the man I love is obsessed with it. I guess there are worse reasons. As far as I’m concerned, there is only one true sport, and it’s the real football, what Americans call “soccer”. (Plebeians.)
However, the great thing about Superbowl Sunday is the excuse for cooking delicious food. What better dish than Chili con Carne with some cornbread?
Chili con Carne
3 lbs. ground beef chuck
1/4 lb. slab bacon, diced
3 whole dried guajillo chiles, seeded and torn into flat pieces
2 whole dried ancho chiles, seeded and torn into flat pieces
1 cup beef broth
1 1/2 lbs. onions, peeled and halved
6 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes
Crushed red pepper (optional)
1 28-oz. can pinto beans, drained
1. Sprinkle ground beef with salt and pepper – don’t bother mixing it in.
2. Sauté the diced bacon in a dutch oven over medium heat, until it’s given up its oil and is just barely crisp. Remove bacon, leaving oil behind, and reserve bacon in a small bowl. Add the torn chile pieces to the oil and gently toast until they discolor and become fragrant, about a minute. Remove and add to the bacon bowl.
3. In batches of about one pound, sauté the ground beef, stirring to break it up, until beef is cooked through and starting to brown. As each batch is done, remove and reserve in a medium bowl.
4. Add the beef broth to the pot and deglaze the bottom of the pot, get all the tasty brown bits loose. When the broth boils, pour over the bowl of chiles and bacon. Submerge the chiles and leave to steep for 10 minutes.
5. Take the pot off the heat, and return the beef to the pot. Toss the onions and garlic in the olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and roast under the broiler until charred, about 8 minutes. Peel the garlic cloves, and place the onions, garlic, and the diced tomatoes in the bowl of a food processor, and process until smooth. Pour the puree into the pot with the beef.
6. Place the bacon, chiles, and broth in the processor, and process until smooth. Add to the pot, and stir with a wooden spoon until all the ingredients are combined.
7. Turn the heat on medium and start simmering the chili. Once the chili begins to bubble, reduce the heat to low, partially cover, and simmer gently for about an hour, stirring every 15 minutes or so. After an hour, taste the chili for seasoning, and add salt and pepper if necessary. If the chili isn’t spicy enough for you, add some crushed red pepper. Continue to simmer, stirring every 15 minutes, for another hour. By this time, the chili should be very thick and dark brown. Add the drained pinto beans, stir to combine, and cook for another 5 or 10 minutes to heat through.
8. For best flavor, keep in the fridge for 24 hours, then reheat on a gentle flame before serving. Serve with shredded sharp cheddar and a dollop of sour cream.
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups stone-ground cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Grease a 12-inch skillet with the 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter, and place the skillet in the oven.
2. In a large bowl, stir together all dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg together with the buttermilk. Add the egg mixture all at once to the dry ingredients, and mix thoroughly. Whisk in melted butter.
3. Once the fat in the skillet has started smoking, remove the skillet from the oven. Carefully swirl the fat around to coat the bottom and sides of the skillet. Pour the batter into the skillet – it should sizzle. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the top of the bread is golden, and the edges have pulled away from the side of the skillet.
4. Remove from the oven, slice into 8 wedges, and serve hot.