This recipe from Cook’s Illustrated is amazing. It’s a hearty, delicious, rich chili with all the texture of a meat chili (thanks to the bulgur) and all the flavor of the best chili you’ve ever had (thanks to the ancho and new mexican roasted chilis). Make this on a Sunday afternoon and enjoy it with football, or take it to work for lunches and pretend it’s Sunday and you’re watching football.
Step 1: Quick Soak the Beans We did a mixture of dried pinto beans and dried heirloom beans from Alm Hill (we don’t know what they were, but they were magical). Bring four quarts water, 3 T salt and 2 1/2 cups dried beans to a boil in a large dutch oven. Once it reaches a boil, cover, remove from heat, and let sit for an hour. Drain the beans and rinse them well.
Step 2: Toast the Chiles Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 300. Take 2 dried ancho and 2 dried New Mexican chiles. Put them on a baking sheet and toast them until they’re fragrant and puffy – about 8 minutes. Take them out, let them cool for 5 minutes, and then de-stem and de-seed them. Then, in a pestle or a little food processor, pulse together the dried chiles, half ounce dried shiitake mushrooms and 4 tsp dried oregano.
Step 3: Food Process Toast 1/2 cup walnuts. Then process them in a food processor until they’re finely ground – about 30 seconds. Transfer them to a bowl. In the same food processor, process 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes (drained, with juice reserved), 3 T tomato paste, 1 jalapeño (stemmed and seeded), 6 cloves garlic and 3 T soy sauce.
Step 4: The Onions Finely chop 2 pounds of onions (yes, 2 POUNDS of onions). Heat 1/4 cup vegetable oil over medium high heat in the dutch oven and add the onions, stirring until the onions start to brown – 8 to 10 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium, add the chile mixture and 1 T cumin, stirring until fragrant – 1 minute.
Step 5: The Beans Add the rinsed beans and 7 cups of water and bring to a boil. Cover the pot and put it in a 300 degree oven for 45 minutes.
Step 6: Final Cooking Pull the pot from the oven, stir in 2/3 cup medium-grind bulgur, the ground walnuts, tomato mixture, and reserved tomato juice. Cover the pot and return it to the oven. Cook until the beans are fully tender – about 2 hours. Pull the pot from the oven, stir it well and then let it stand for 20 minutes. Serve with all your favorite chili toppings.
- 1 pound (2 1/2 cups) dried beans
- 2 dried ancho chiles
- 2 dried new Mexican chiles
- 1/2 ounce dried Shiitake mushrooms (coarsely chopped)
- 4 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 cup walnuts (toasted)
- 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes (drained, juice reserved)
- 3 T tomato paste
- 1 jalapeno chile (stemmed and coarsely chopped and seeded)
- 6 garlic cloves
- 3 T soy sauce
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 pounds onions (finely chopped)
- 1 T ground cumin
- 7 cups water
- 2/3 cup medium grind bulgur
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (topping)
- Chicken and Green Chilis Crockpot (seattlefoodshed.wordpress.com)
- Chili Grilled Hass Avocados with Toasted Jalapeno Breadcrumbs Recipe (sports.avocadocentral.com)
- More experimenting in the kitchen: Hatch Chiles (thegreatexperimenters.com)