Monday, April 25, 2005

Recipes for REAL men, Volume 6 - Andouille Guinness Chili

"Next to jazz music, there is nothing that lifts the spirit and strengthens the soul more than a good bowl of chili. Congress should pass a law making it mandatory for all restaurants serving chili to follow a Texas recipe." --Harry James
Alright, time once again for another installment of "Recipes for REAL men". This time we're going to cook up my famous (within my family and friends anyway) Andouille chili.

Technically speaking this isn't a traditional chili, because I use tomato puree in mine, and real chili uses no vegetables other than the chile peppers; but this is a habanero chili, and without the tomatos to... moderate it; no-one would be able to eat the stuff but me (I have been known to drink tabasco straight, and use Daves insanity sauce as a mild garnish).

Andouille Guiness Chili


Ingredients:

2lb stew beef, or short ribs, trimmed and cubed into 1/2"-1" chunks (or 4lbs if its the only meat)
1lb extra lean ground beef (optional)
1lb pork loin, trimmed and cubed into 1/2-1" chunks (optional)
1lb Andouille sausage (linguica or spanish chorizo can also be used, but not mexican chorizo)
1 large sweet bell pepper, seeded and diced large (1/2" or so - optional)
1 large sweet onion diced large (vidalia if you can get one, bermuda if you can't - optional)
16oz unsweetened tomato puree
32oz of beef stock or strong beef broth(more or less depending)
1 bottle of Guiness stout (other brands are acceptable, but Guiness is traditional)
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
4oz butter
2 tblsp olive oil

Seasoning:

1-4 mature Habanero peppers (scotch bonnet work well too, as do other C.Chinense cultivars)
2 cloves of garlic (optional to taste)
1/4-1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro (optional, but traditional - to taste)
4tblsp fresh chopped oregano
4tblsp black pepper
4tblsp cayenne pepper
2tblsp turmeric
2tblsp cumin
2tblsp ground black mustard (use spicy thai or chinese hot mustard if you cant find pure black)
1tblsp smoked paprika (sweet or hot depending on preference)

NOTE: You will need a 5qt or larger stock/boiling pot; or slow cooker/crock pot for this.

If you are unable to find either Habanero or Scotch bonnet peppers, or you want to experiment with different chili flavors and heat levels, you can use Santakas (actually I HIGHLY recommend Santakas in general, they have a great flavor in addition to their heat), real Cayenne peppers, Rocoto, Petiquin/Chilitepin, thai hot, Fatali, Aji, Datil, or Serrano peppers; but you need to understand the heat levels of each pepper, and how best to prepare them.

If you want a somewhat milder chili, you can also use four times as many Hatch chilis (a medium heat green chili available in the southwest); or other milder chili types. You may also want to add some chipotle (smoked jalapeno) for their smoky flavor; but be careful to find good quality pieces, as much of what is sold in the US as chipotle are poor quality peppers that were rejected for sale as market grade jalapenos.

If you don't have fresh chiles, you can use Daves insanity sauce to taste (about 2 tablespoons will be the same heat level as two fresh roasted Habanero chilis).

If you manage to get ahold of "The Source" (the worlds hottest, and most expensive hot sauce), 1 teaspoon will do about the same thing; but there really isn't any flavor added, just heat. At that point you might as well just get some pure capsaicin extract like Blairs 6AM reserve which is about ten times the concentration of capsaicin as in bear repellent OC spray.

Now, to my mind, and to chili purists; you shouldn't include onions or non-chili peppers in your chili, but a lot of people seem to expect them. In this chili, you can use the sweet peppers, and sweet onions, to help balance out the heat of the peppers.

Bringing up that heat, there's some things you need to be careful of.

VERY IMPORTANT!

If you've never cooked with REALLY hot peppers like Habaneros or Scotch Bonnets; they are... well... REALLY FRIKKEN HOT.

You need to be careful touching them if you have sensitive skin, and after you've been handling them wash your hands and utentsils throughly before touching any part of your body, especially your eyes. Every chile lover has at one time or another run off to the bathroom without washing their hands first and... well we wont go any further with that one shall we.

But seriously, you may think you've messed with hot peppers because you eat the Jalapenos they give you with your PapaJohns or at the local mexican place; but that aint nothing.

Heat, in the sense of spiciness; is measured in Scoville units. In peppers, the heat is caused primarily by the chemical capsaicin (which is the C in OC, or "pepper spray", the O is oleoresin). Absolutely pure capsaicin would register above 20 million Scoville units (SCU), but the "pure" mark is considered 16 million. The police use a 5% OC solution, which has about 500,000 ScU. Park rangers use a bear repellent with about 1.5 million ScU.

A pepperoncini, which is what most people are actually thinking of when they are talking about Jalapenos; rates about 500 scoville units. The hottest varietal of Jalapeno is about 20,000scu, and most are around 5,000scu. Tabasco peppers (the main ingredient in Tabasco sauce) and pure Cayenne peppers both run from 30-50,000scu.

The Habanero pepper runs between 5 and 10 times that, from 125,000 to 350,000 scu, with the hottest varietal (the Red Savina) hitting almost 600,000 SCU.

Yeah, thats at least 250 TIMES as hot as those pepperoncinis you pop in your mouth.

Eating a raw Habanero at the top end of the scale can cause blistering of the sensitive skin in your mouth, and of your mucous membranes (as the residue gets breathed up into your sinuses). Even at the bottom end of the scale, if you aren't used to the heat, a habanero can cause dizziness, sweating, rashes, vomiting, gastric distress, and asthma attacks.

If you eat a chile that causes a rash or blistering, you will be treated for a chemical burn; that's the effect it can have.

No, I'm not kidding.

We HotHeads (hot chile lovers, also called ChileHeads or PepperHeads) are freaks, and we like it that way.

The upside of all that? If you are acclimatized to chiles the heat causes your body to release termemdous amounts of endorphins, as well as ramping up your bodies systems in general. Your pain receptors get kind of damped out, and your pleasure receptors go on full alert. Basicaly it's a lazy mans way to get a runners high.

Oh, and if you get hangovers; very hot chilis will perk you RIGHT up.

If you DO eat a chile that's far too hot for you, DON'T DRINK WATER; at least not right away. The first thing you want to do is rinse your mouth out with something acidic and astringent like lemon juice or vinegar (the astringence will help to clear the volatile oils out of your mouth), then drink something fatty like whole milk. Hard core chile lovers keep cream, or especially buttermilk around. Some people recommend eating dry bread, which will help remove the remaining residue from your lips, and teeth, but it's not going to do anything for your throat or stomach.

So, how many chiles should you add? Well, I list 1-4 for a reason. This is a high fat chili, and the fat content acts to balance out the heat, as do the sweetness of the tomatos; so I generally make the chili with two chiles. Four chiles will make this recipe SCORCHING hot on the average persons heat scale, and probably too hot for most folks out there. A single chile will be quite mild, roughly equivalent to eating a taco bell burrito with their hot sauce.

If that's STILL too hot, you need to use a mild chile like the Jalapeno Santaka, Chipotle, or even more mild like Ancho or Poblano; but DON'T OMIT THE FRESH CHILES ENTIRELY.

All too often people who don't like the heat just decide to substitute some relatively mild chili powder for the cayenne powder and fresh chiles; but I guarantee you this recipe will not be as good; basically ending up as a mildly spicy beef stew.

OK, on to the prep work:

You have a choice: You can use either a 5qt or larger thick bottomed pot; or you can use a crock pot of the same size. If you are using a crock pot, you'll want to sautee the meat in a large skillet, then transfer the full contents of the pan, including the grease, into the slow cooker. It's important you deglaze the pan and add the liquid from that as well to get maximum flavor.

First, slice the sausage on the bias, into bite sized chunks. Crush the garlic, and melt a a couple tablespoons of butter and and oil in the bottom of the pot.

Sautee the andouille in the butter and oil until it lightly browned, then add in the rest of the butter, the stew beef, and the pork. If you are adding onions and peppers to the chili, sautee them lightly now before adding the rest of the meat.

Sautee until lightly browned, seasoning with a little salt, pepper, and cayenne powder or tabasco sauce if you like.

Crumble the ground beef into the pot, and lightly brown, seasoning as above.

Add the Guiness and vinegar, and enough beef stock to cover the meat, then simmer for about 20 minutes while you prep your chiles.

Lightly roast your chiles, until the skin starts to pucker. For maximum heat, use the whole chili (including seeds and stems). This will also add some bitterness. If you don't want the extra heat, or the bitterness (or if you arent going to puree the chilis) slice and seed the chiles before roasting. Oh and you should note, it isnt the seeds that contain most of the heat, its the stem; more specifically its the placenta or "pulque" of the chili, that the seeds attach to. If you scrape out the seeds and the white tissue the attache to, you'll lose a lot of your heat.

I like to dump my chiles into a blender with a little tomato and beef stock, puree them thoroughly; then add that to the chili, rather than just crushing or slicing and adding directly. Then rinse out the blender with more beefstock to make sure you get ALL the heat.

Add in the rest of the tomato puree, and then enough beef stock to fill the pot up to within an inch or so of the top (in a 5 qt. pot). This recipe is going to be simmered for a LOOOOOONG time, so you want it to be too thin, rather than too thick.

At this point you are going to be simmering the chili for at least 4 hours which is why you may want to use a crock pot. With a crock pot you can just prep it in the morning, and leave it cooking all day.

The Chili Cognoscenti (i.e. the world champion chili cooks) tend to stagger how and when they season, but generally speaking I just prep it all at once by mixing all the dry seasonings together and jsut dumping them in at the same time as I add the chiles.

What you want to do is simmer the chili until the beef and pork have basically disintegrated into shreds of meat. If the chili gets too thick, add beef stock to thin it out. If it's too thin, turn up the heat a bit.

Oh and too thick and too thin are pretty vague. Personally I like a chili that will coat the back of the spoon.

This recipe makes about 8 good sized bowls of a very thick and meaty chili; and man it is GOOD.

And be sure to check out:

Recipes for REAL Men, Volume 12 - Lard Ass Wings
Recipes for REAL Men, Volume 11 - Bacon Double Macaroni and Cheese
Recipes for REAL Men, Volume 10 - It's the meat stupid
Recipes for REAL Men, Volume 9 - Labor Day Potatos
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 8 - It's a pork fat thing
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 7 - It may not be Kosher...
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 6 - Andouille Guiness Chili
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 5 - Eazza the Ultimate Pizza
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 4 - Two Pound Meat Sauce
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 3 - Highbrow Hash
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 2 - MuscleCarbonara
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 1 - More Beef than Stew