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Mallette

Chili and Klipsch

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Beautiful and 60 degrees...but dropping to 27 and a slight chance of snow this evening, and that means CHILI! Slightly different take again, and concentrating on somewhat different take on the pictures and procedures. First, the meat. 1/3 pork and 2/3 beef. Pork chops and chuck steak, untrimmed. Ground in my grandmother's Keystone 20 grinder attached to her kitchen safe. My first memory of it is when I was about six and they slaughtered and butchered a pig out back. Fresh sausage that was SOOOO good! Anyway, I use the coarsest blade. Takes about 2 minutes and she still turns effortlessly. Easy clean, too. These can be found at reasonable on EBay. So, browned and spices added, image003 is first simmer, at least an hour. This one I increased the chili arbol reduction considerably to the New Mexico guajillos. Wanted a bit more heat...it's going to be COLD by our standards and windy by anyones. Image004 is this morning after leaving it sit out to congeal the fat. I can eat greasy chili but see no point in it. Adds nothing and hard on the digestion for some. As you can see, easily removed once it congeals in the cold and floats to the top. Image005 is after the addition and final simmer with masa. 2.5 on an induction plate is perfect for simmering...it NEVER sticks and rarely needs stirring.

 

It's ready! Come git sum!  

 

In a few days I will be reconstituting more dried chilies and reducing to paste. I have decided to photo and go through that procedure for those who may be interested. Given the relative ease of getting dried chilies it's the easiest way to get the real deal. 

 

Dave

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Makin' me hungry, Dave. I just got some Red Menace from Brian in the mail. Have to figure out what I will try it with...

 

Bruce

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Well, dig right in Bruce! Ready to serve...EAT! Had hot corn tortillas, too, but not in the shot. A great batch of purist chili. Already looking forward to the next batch! BTW, 1 on an induction plate is perfection for maintaining eating temp with no worries.

 

Dave

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. o O (are you coming to the pilgrimage !!!) …. o O(Saturday afternoon MMmmm)

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Absolutely! I'll give it some thought. Might do a pot for afternoon snacking.

Dave

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OK, what about an informal competition at Pilgrimage with all contenders serving from the bar at Rodney's mid-afternoon on Saturday? Don't really care about the competition given that, as per Mohammed Ali, my chili "floats like a butterfly, and stings like a bee," but don't want to cook for the whole crowd and it might be fun. 

 

Dave

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9 minutes ago, Mallette said:

OK, what about an informal competition at Pilgrimage with all contenders serving from the bar at Rodney's mid-afternoon on Saturday? Don't really care about the competition given that, as per Mohammed Ali, my chili "floats like a butterfly, and stings like a bee," but don't want to cook for the whole crowd and it might be fun. 

 

Dave

Chili cookoff!!!!!!

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Carl, make martinis right beside my chili...that will ENSURE they float like bumblebees before they get stung...

Dave

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2 hours ago, Mallette said:

Carl, make martinis right beside my chili...that will ENSURE they float like bumblebees before they get stung...

Dave

I can certainly handle that.

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Putting the paddles to this thread due to requests for a recipe made at Pilgrimage. Guess I'll need to make a bigger pot next year as it went REALLY fast. Anyway, details in the post below and also in the pdf attached. Take pictures and post your results. FYI, the chilies used at Pilgrimage were 1/3 cascavel, 1/3 arbol, and 1/3 New Mexico pods, all Bolner brand. I am a big fan of all Bolner Mexican and TexMex spices and peppers. Mix and match until you get the flavor that works for you. 

 

Completed Orphan Training with my son last night. Gave him a certificate of completion in "Orphan Training 140: Texas Red." Wrote the following for the food page in the local paper. Since it has details I thought some here might find it useful. Also attached is a printable PDF with full spread of pictures I took of the steps.

 

Passing on traditions to one’s children is a serious responsibility. Life is uncertain and to leave your children impoverished in the traditions of cooking is to, in this case, condemn them to a life of chili from cans or packages. That is CRUEL!

I call it “orphan training,” and this installment deals with a particularly critical skill for Texas men. Of course, I am a born and raised “Texarkana Baby,” my father a West Texas cowboy and my mother an Arkansas hillbilly. That means I have double the traditions to hand down. However, in this case it’s all about Texas Red, made from scratch. For this project, my sous chef and apprentice was my 17-year-old son Thomas McRae Mallette. I’ve declared him competent in the art of Texas Red. Soon I’ll put him through my course in Arkansas milk gravy…but that’s another story.

First, a few ground rules. I am NOT a chili snob. A good friend from Ohio once presented me with a bowl of red stuff with meat, green bits, tomato chunks, and beans. He said, “Do you know what Cincinnati Chili is?” I responded without hesitation: “Yes. A contradiction in terms.” However, I was kidding. When someone feeds me anything they’ve prepared I eat it and say “Thank you very much” regardless of how difficult the task of consuming it was. That is how I was taught and what I’ve passed to my children. On the other hand, there ARE rules within traditions if you want authenticity. While you will find those who cross a line here and there, purist Texas Red has no tomatoes and no beans. It is made from dried chilis, fresh coarsely ground beef and pork, cumin, paprika (mainly to brighten the color), chopped onions and garlic. Finally, note I will not indulge in the debate about chile, chilis, chili, chiles, etc. That’s a food fight up with which I shall not put.

Just what chilis to use is a matter of personal choice. For those just starting out I’d recommend Bolner’s New Mexico Red or Hatch Red Chilis, and Bolner’s Chili Arbol for heat and flavor. No real preference here for Bolner brand, but they are readily available in many Texarkana area grocery stores or via Amazon.

Job one is to produce a concentrated chili paste from the dried chilis. I would recommend the beginner produce each chili type used separately so as to be able to produce different blends and heat levels. In this case, I told my son as much but as we both know what heat level we wanted and so used a half and half mixture of Hatch and Arbol by weight.

First, break the stem off and get rid of as many seeds as possible. You don’t have to get every last one but get the majority of them. Those remaining won’t impact the flavor and will be removed by the straining step later. Put them in a pot and fill with water until they are covered.

I am a big fan of induction cooktops for a variety of reasons.  One of the main ones is that they have incredible precision settings that allow one to bring a pot of water to a boil very fast and then maintain a given temp precisely. This is particularly important when simmering the chili. At the correct setting on an induction cooktop you may walk away with confidence that it will not scorch and will shut off at the time you set. Just remember they only work with pots a magnet will stick to. That’s no problem for me as I rely on cast iron and heavy steel-clad cookware anyway.

Put the pot of chilis on and bring to a rolling boil. This induction cooktop maintains a good boil at 3.5 on a 1-10 setting scale. Set it for an hour and relax. What you want is a 2/3 or so reduction in the liquid. When you get that, set the pot in a sink with cold water to cool it off enough such that it’s not a scalding hazard, then transfer the mixture to an emulsifying blender. If you have too much liquid to fit do not throw it away. Add it later as it’s full of chili flavor. Let it run until the mixture looks like ketchup. Don’t worry over how thick it is as it does not really matter.

For the next stage I use one of the very powerful centrifugal juicers I have from the juice and smoothie craze of the 80s. Think I paid 10 bucks or so for it, but it is invaluable for processes like this where you want to extract the goodness from stewed vegetables. This one was one of those things “made in America to last a lifetime” and features a 1/3hp electric motor and fine stainless-steel mesh to strain. Probably attains 3,000 RPM or so and takes a long time to spin down. If you do not have onOrphan.pube of these, just use the finest mesh strainer you can find and press the stewed chilis through it. While some skip this, I find it important as removes the little bits of chili skin that otherwise can stick in your teeth and be annoying.

Add the chili mixture as the machine spins up, and towards the end of the process slowly pour any remaining liquid through to get that last bit of goodness from the pulp. And, you are done! The rest of the process is all off the shelf. You can do a considerable amount of puree and freeze it for later projects for efficiency.

Now it is meat time. Choice is up to you. Main thing is to choose meat with plenty of marbling, like chuck. Same for the pork. I use marked down pork chops from the quick sale bin. My preference is about 2/3 beef to 1/3 pork. Since it’s just my son and I we’ll only make a pound or a bit over worth of chili. It’s easy to scale up or down.

I grind my own using my grandmother’s Keystone hand grinder with a very coarse blade. You can get one from EBay for 20 or 30 dollars and they are wonderful. My opinion is that hamburger grind is not authentic and just too fine to get that real chili taste. However, use if you must but use one with at least 20% fat. Some grocers will still grind to order.

For each pound of meat, mince half an onion and several cloves of garlic. I’ll throw in a little secret that it’s surprising how few know…just cut the ends off the garlic, place it under a wide knife or cleaver, and give it a major whack with your fist. The garlic will separate completely from the peeling.

Put the meat, onions, and garlic in a pot and brown. Once browned, add a quart or so of beef bouillon. My favorite is “Better than Boullion” as it is richer than cubes and keeps a lot better than the liquid variety, as well as being cheaper. Add the chili reductions in whatever portions you wish. More arbols means hotter. If you want good chili with little or no heat, just use the Anchos or New Mexico reductions.  Salt, pepper, Comino to taste. I would suggest a heaping tablespoon of Cominio if you are unsure. Simmer for at least an hour.

If the weather is cold, leave the pot outside and covered overnight. If not, put it in the fridge overnight. That allows the whole thing to tighten and really bloom in flavor. The next day, take it out and the grease will be congealed on the surface. Remove and discard. Reheat the chili to a simmer and add Masa Harina. Here again, to taste. If unsure, start with two heaping tablespoons dissolved in lukewarm water and stirred into the chili. Simmer 30 minutes and FEAST!

Here’s the recipe in condensed form:

One pound of coarse ground meat, preferably marbled beef and pork as per preference.

1-quart beef broth

Chili reduction made by boiling dried chilis, emulsifying in a blender, then straining. Try various blends for heat, starting with Bolner’s New Mexico chilis if you want chili flavor with minimum heat. Add Arbols, Cascavels, pequins, Habaneros, or similar for heat.

Black pepper to taste

Salt to taste

Masa Harina, 1 heaping tablespoon per pound dissolved in warm water, or to taste.

Brown the meat, onions, and garlic.

Add all remaining ingredients except the Masa, simmer 1 hour.

Refrigerate overnight.

Skim off grease and reheat.

Dissolve two heaping tablespoons of Masa or to taste and preference in lukewarm water.

Gradually pour in and mix with simmering chili

Simmer at least 30 minutes and FEAST!

 

 

 

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Orphan.pdf

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Looks like a nice bowl of red there.  Here is a different way of making the chile puree:

Destem and deseed the dried chiles, rinse, and cut or tear down one side to lay flat.  Pat dry.

Place on a baking sheet and into a 400 degree oven for about one minute.  Ovens vary so adjust accordingly and do not scorch.  If they scorch start over you do not want scorch flavor.

Place the quick roasted chiles in warm water and let stand for a while, at least an hour.  Next emulsify in the blender adding as much soak water as needed for desired consistency, then strain through fine mesh if you don't have a centrifugal gizmo like Mallette (of course you don't).

You now have a pure chile puree which has unlimited uses, including for making chili.  This is how Stephen Pyles does it, renowned Texas chef who grew up cooking in his family's west Texas truck stop.  The roasting will add some depth of flavor that will make everything it touches better.

 

Additionally, for the cumin.  Buy whole cumin seeds.  Place desired amount one layer only in a cast iron pan and roast over low heat.  When roasted as desired (again never so long as to scorch) let cool and grind it up in the spice grinder (those cheap rotary coffee grinders that you use for spices instead of coffee).  This will be the only way you will ever use cumin again once you do it the first time.  Bon appetit...and laissez le bon temps rouler!

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Good write up there @Mallette !

 

Have you written that many O T articles?

 

After all your talk (and pictures) here about the TX Red, I'm going to have to make some while it's chilly out here this weekend. Will swing by the store on the way home today and see if they have that Masa stuff. Got to get more ripe, red j a p s, love `em, relennos are around, mccormicks chili powder has been disappointing for a few years to me, need a new brand. The other like the whole peppers I might have to fudge a little on, but making it without the tomatoes and beans, and letting it set up overnight will be something interesting!

I'll let y'all know when/what happens!

 

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Don't use a chili powder mix.  Use a pure chili powder of your choice (cayenne is easiest to find) and other pure spices, such as the cumin I detailed.  Smoked paprika is a good ingredient.

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3 hours ago, oldtimer said:

Here is a different way of making the chile puree:

You know your stuff, Dr. Hot Sauce. Might try that sometime. As to the cumin, might try that as well...but I've been highly satisfied with the Bolner's ground comino as it is fresh, fragrant, and keeps well. 

Dave

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1 hour ago, JohnJ said:

Have you written that many O T articles?

Done a lot of orphan training, but first write up. Since I am "stringing" for the Gazette I will do more...next one, as mentioned, will be the art of milk gravy. Almost forgotten art!

 

Dave

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You guys are absolutely killing me!  I'm starting to feel like a squirrel foraging for nuts after a forest fire!  I'm sure the grocery stores around here would have everything you speak of.  NOT!  Also the visuals of oldtimer and Dave standing over my shoulder laffing at me...  Double UGH!  😂 

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Get'em on Amazon, @Dave1290. Just follow the instructions...it is NOT rocket science and it's fun. Any of you guys who try it post your experience and your pictures.

Dave

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Today that Thursday Texas Red served to make up another Texas tradition, stacked enchiladas with a fried egg. Made for a festive supper on a cold day.

Dave

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On 2/9/2019 at 9:55 AM, oldtimer said:

Don't use a chili powder mix.  Use a pure chili powder of your choice (cayenne is easiest to find) and other pure spices, such as the cumin I detailed.  Smoked paprika is a good ingredient.

Found some Arbol chili powder, will go to the mexican side of the blvd soon to pick up some of their homemade tamales... assume they'll have the masa there too!

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Nice.  With dried chiles you can also make your own powder.  If it comes to that let me know if you need help.

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