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The Walking Red (Chili)

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““The chili-with-beans for people who don’t like beans in their chili.” This red chili is a bit of a departure in that I use beans in it. Beans can complement a chili nicely but should be chosen carefully. Flavor and texture should not be overwhelming and should go well with the chilis and meat. This chili was made with red or pink beans: a form of thin-skinned, small kidney bean similar in appearance to a pinto. These were chosen because, when they cook for a long time, they not only add a nice flavor to the chili but they take on the flavor of the chili itself in a smooth, almost butter-like consistency. This allows the flavor of the chili to be spread smoothly around the mouth while eating. In terms of heat, I rate this chili at 3-½ out of 5. I like things hot so this is just a hair above “medium” by my way of thinking. I also won 2nd place in the 2012 company chili cook-off with this one: whoot! “You’ve got red in you.””
30 small bowls

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Slice the canned tomatoes in half and drain their liquid into a bowl. Set the liquid aside for later. Coat the tomatoes in a light drizzle (or spray) of canola oil.
  2. In a 425-degree oven, roast the tomato halves on a rack over the reserved liquid (cut-side, down) for 30-45 minutes. This should have them darkening and shriveling. Check on them periodically and be prepared to flip them with a spatula to keep them from burning; a little bit of color and dark spots are what you are looking for as well as to dry out the tomatoes. When slightly blackened, remove the tomato halves from the oven and blend them into a thick puree. Set aside.
  3. Place the excess tomato liquid into a shallow, non-stick skillet and add four, whole chili peppers. Over medium heat, stirring occasionally to prevent burning, reduce the tomato liquid. This will take about 5-15 minutes, depending on how hot "medium" is on your stove top. Keep an eye on it! When thick, remove and discard the whole chili peppers. Blend the reduced tomato liquid in with the roasted tomato puree.
  4. Dice the whole, dried red chilies very finely.
  5. Combine the ground spices with the red pepper flakes and the diced, small chili peppers in a bowl and set aside.
  6. Dice the beef rib meat into small pieces: about ½” cubes.
  7. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season your meat with salt and pepper (to taste) along with half the spice mixture. Then, saute in half of the oil until browned. Remove from the skillet.
  8. Add the diced onions to the large skillet with the remaining oil and saute until the onions start to brown.
  9. Add the ground beef and garlic to the onions and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add half of the remaining spice blend (which should be about a quarter of the full amount). Stir to break down the meat into a fine blend with the onions.
  10. Make sure the beans have been fully re-hydrated and the lard is melted. Add all the remaining ingredients (including the last quarter of the spice blend) to a large pot and stir in the beef/onion mixture with the cilantro, beans, and previously browned rib meat. If you are using canned beans, use their liquid as well. If using dried beans that you have re-hydrated, use a cup of their re-hydration liquid.
  11. Stir in the chicken broth. Bring to a simmer over low heat. Cover the pot for the first hour then remove and continue to simmer for another 1-½ to 3 hours hours, checking every fifteen minutes after the first half hour, to stir and make sure it is not burning. Simmer until it is as thick as a very thick stew. NOTE: Using a thick-bottomed pot will help prevent burning.
  12. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

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