20 June 2010

marathon monday chili 'n' fixins

Every April, my neighborhood (and most of Boston) shut down on the third Monday in April for the Boston Marathon. The city declares it "Patriots Day" but really, I'm convinced it's just a free pass for the thousands of residents trapped by insane traffic, road barriers, and closed lanes due to the hordes of visitors in town that day.

Oh, and it's a helluva lot of fun to watch. The marathon that is. Did I mention that part? It's like the best of all block parties, but spanning the majority of the city.

I happen to live right at mile 23 on the route, right out my front door. So it's only right that I invite friends over for food, drink and general merriment, right? I think so.

This Marathon was a bit chilly here in Boston-town, so I decided to make up a heaping pot of meat-lovers chili with all the fixins, as well as some other dips and Albert's incredible crabcakes. (There's one thing I love more than Albert's crabcakes ... and those are his fruit tarts, but I digress. The boy makes a mean crabcake, let me tell you, and a tomatillo sauce that rivals no other.)

This recipe was a bit different and more involved than my usual standby turkey chili. I spruced up a recipe passed along for Boilermaker chili, using hot italian sausage as well as ground sirloin / ground beef mix. Chili is very forgiving, and I doctored this recipe by taste - so this recipe is just a guide. It was the perfect bit of heat, smokiness, and richness on that cool day though. I'll tell ya that much. This was the first time I added chocolate to chili - and I have to say - it really added a wonderful complexity to it, and played very well off of the smokier ingredients (chipotles in adobo, smoked paprika).

Marathon Monday Chili
Adapted from Allrecipes.com

2 pounds ground beef chuck / sirloin (I mixed)
1 pound bulk Italian sausage - casing removed
1 large can black beans
1 large can red kidney beans
2 - 28 oz cans diced tomatoes with juice
1 - 6 oz can tomato paste
1 large onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped with leaves
2 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 - 2.5 diced chipotles in adobo
2-4 TB sauce from chipotles in adobo
3/4 bottle of beer
1/4 cup chili powder
2 TB Worcestershire sauce
2 TB minced garlic
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp smoked paprika
a few hefty handfuls of chocolate flakes from hot cocoa mix

Heat a large heavy bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Crumble the ground chuck and sausage into the hot pan, and cook until evenly browned. Drain off excess grease.

Pour in the beans, diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Add the onion, celery, green peppers, chipotles and beer. Season with chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, cumin, adobo sauce basil, salt, pepper, cayenne, and paprika to taste. Once all mixed in, add a few hefty handfuls of chocolate. Don't be shy. Mix all together, cover and simmer for 2+ hours. The longer it simmers, the better it will taste.

Oh, and these little cornbread muffins are a perfect (and adorable) accompaniment.

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