I had a Sunday Funday of epic proportions, and disastrous consequences. The kind that makes you take a day or a few off from drinking. Except that I’m no quitter. I was making some deliciously meaty hangover chili that I was planning to tackle with only Tostitos scoops as utensils. Mm, tortilla chips, my kryptonite. My house filled with delicious smells as I got caught up in a TLC marathon of reality shows geared towards chicks. Don’t judge. That Long Island Medium gets me every time. Enough to forget to check on the chili and realize it had cooked down enough and could use some more liquid. But water might just, um, water it down. I had a better idea – beer! I wasn’t worried that the Smuttynose Robust Porter had been in my fridge for a couple months. It wasn’t going to go bad. I was interested in freeing up some space though so did a little one for you, one for me. One bottle went into the pot of chili and one down my gullet. I sipped on that while waiting for it to cook into the chili a bit and realized I had made a great decision. This beer had robust chocolate and coffee notes (I see where they get the name) that I was hoping would impart a sort of molé quality to the spicy chili. It’s full-bodied but smooth and drinkable with a very rounded flavor. The chocolate is lightly sweet but it’s kept in check by the hops, creating a dry and lightly bitter finish that lingers. This may be my new go to dark beer for the winter: good value, widely available, sold in a 6 pack, and it makes a mean chili! Whip some up and see for yourself!
- 6 whole dried guajillo chiles
- Vegetable oil (a few tablespoons worth)
- 2.5 – 3 pounds beef chuck, cut into small chunks (1/2 inch or smaller)
- Salt / Pepper / Various spices
- 2 large onions, coarsely chopped
- 7 to 8 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 serrano chiles, seeded and minced
- 1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled plum tomatoes, pureed with their juice
- 1 can Red Kidney Beans, rinsed (If you want. I like beans, you might not.)
- 2 1/2 cups water, plus more if needed and for soaking
- 1 bottle Smuttynose Robust Porter
- Set a pot of water to boil to use in the next step.
- Place dried chiles in a dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant and blistered, watching closely so they don’t burn. Between 2 and 3 minutes per side should do the trick. Snip off the stemmed tops with scissors (it’s just easier that way) and shake out the seeds. Cover the chiles with the hot water in a bowl for 30 minutes, using another bowl to keep them submerged if necessary. Remove chiles from water and puree in a blender with 1/2 cup soaking liquid.
- Season beef chunks with salt and pepper. I also used a bit of garlic powder, chili powder, and cumin. Whatever you feel like, really!
- Heat a large heavy pot over high heat. Add a couple tablespoons oil. Brown beef in batches, adding more oil as needed. Transfer to a plate.
- Without discarding any remnants of oil or beef in the pot, add the onions, garlic, and minced serranos, and cook over medium-high heat until onions are translucent. Add some more spices and stir for another minute until fragrant. I once again used cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, and pepper. But seriously, don’t overthink this. Just shake on whatever you feel like. Bacon salt? Sure. Cajun seasoning? Why the hell not? Some people even like to throw in cocoa powder, instant coffee, or cinnamon. I won’t judge. Do your thing!
- Stir in browned beef and chile puree. Add tomato puree, beans, water, beer, and a couple shakes of salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer gently with the lid cracked open a bit, for at least 2.5 hours and longer if you feel like – the flavor will just get better and the meat more tender! If it does dry out and you can part with more beer, throw some in and stir! Otherwise, water will do the trick.
- I like to serve this with shredded cheese and diced cilantro on top. And tortilla chips. Obviously.
Tasted By Snack Attack To learn about Smuttynose Robust Porter Please visit Smuttynose Brewing Co.