Get your vegetables out of here! [Beef Shoulder and Black Bean Chili stuffed Baked Potatoes]

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I’m not crazy about chili. I don’t know why, but it’s not something that sets me off the way it seems to everyone else. Granted, I’ve been served plenty of chili that’s bland and flavorless, under-seasoned and made with pre-ground meat that doesn’t offer the tender, beefy texture a real chili should have. 

While I’m sure some of you swear by the addition of a whole crispers worth of vegetables, lots of beans, tomatoes and grains (you healthy buggers!), I’m just not there with you. Chili is meat. Meat, a pantheon of fresh ground spices, beer, coffee, golden brown onions and one type of bean, if any. I like it pure, untarnished by outside flavours, rich and filled with chunks of slow-braised beef shoulder. And if one bite of celery, or god-forbid KALE, gets in the way of my meat, I’ll be none too impressed.  Vegetables have their place and time and 
dagnabbit, it’s not in my chili!

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This recipe is chili the way I like it. It’s deep brick red in colour, impossibly rich and creamy and rather than a full crisper, it packs almost a whole spice cabinet’s worth of flavour. The chocolate may seem off if you haven’t added it to your chili before, but it gives the it a creaminess and richness that will explode your world. 

Stuffing this chili goodness into a baked potato isn’t totally necessary, but it IS totally delicious and makes the meal a little rounder. If you prefer the chili on it’s own, I guess I can accept that.As long as you promise to pile it extra high with toppings. I’ll sleep better at night knowing that. 

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Beef Shoulder and Black Bean Chili stuffed Baked Potatoes
serves 4-6

Fresh spices make a world of difference in the flavour department here, but if you’ve only got pre-ground that’s perfectly fine, too. 


3lbs well-trimmed beef shoulder (blade steaks/chuck roast), cut into 1/2” cubes
2 tbsp flour
salt & pepper
canola oil
2 large onions, diced
5 large cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp fresh ground cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander seeds
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
2 tbsp dried oregano
3 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp (or less) ground chili pequín or cayenne pepper
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup strong brewed coffee or espresso
1 330ml bottle stout
1 cup beef stock or water
2 oz bittersweet chocolate
1 can black beans, rinsed and pureedor whole (optional)
2-4 tbsp favourite hot sauce

Optional Toppings
Manchego, Old Cheddar, or Sovrano cheese
Thin-sliced green onions/chives

Cilantro
Pickled jalapeno

Sour cream or Yogurt
Minced red onion
Extra hot sauce
Avocado chunks
Lime wedges

Set a dutch oven or large heavy-bottom pot over med-high heat and add a few turns of canola oil. In two batches, toss cubes of beef with flour and a few pinches each of salt and pepper and throw into the hot pot. Let beef brown all over, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate. 

Once meat is all browned and removed from the pot, add another drizzle of oil and the onions. Cook until nice and golden, 5-6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add all the spiced and the tomato paste and cook until paste is caramelized, 10-12 minutes. It will be extremely fragrant at this point (which is a really, really good thing!). Add the meat back to the pot with the coffee, beer and stock (or water) and chocolate. Bring to a boil scraping the stuck-on flavour at the bottom of the pot. Add the black beans and hot sauce and turn the heat down to a simmer. Cook for 3 hours or until beef is extremely tender. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, if needed. 

If you’re stuffing baked potatoes; Preheat oven to 375 and wrap 4 russets in foil one hour before chili is finished. Pop into the oven and forget about them for an hour or until a fork goes easily through the potato. Cut the tops off, scoop out a little of the fluffy potato goodness and stuff those suckers with plenty of Chili. 

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