Saturday, June 30, 2012

Hayride Chili

Every fall, we host a Hayride and Bonfire Party and this is required each year! It is made with slow-cooked shredded beef in place of the traditional ground beef ... and chocolate makes a cameo in this recipe! 

This makes enough to feed a large crowd of 30+ people.

We put out corn chips (folks can pour the chili over them) ... and serve with chopped onions, sour cream and shredded cheese on the side.

The chili comes together in a roasting pan. But, if you're only wanting to make enough for your family, use a slow cooker and cut back on the ingredient quantities suggested.  The recipe is a bit detailed and long, but (please) trust me that it is sooooo worth it!  All of the guests who attend this party talk about this chili all year long and count down until I will be making it for the party!

This is good stuff, folks!  I promise!

The night before I am going to be making the chili, I prepare the meat:

Beef roast (most any cut works) or boneless beef ribs
1 large can of crushed/chunky tomatoes along with their juice (I use home-canned, but store-bought is fine)
1 large onion, chopped
3 peeled garlic cloves, chopped
3 beef bouillon cubes
Olive oil

In large stock or soup pot, heat oil to very hot temperature. Salt and pepper meat on all sides, then sear in pot on all sides until browned. Add onions and garlic. Pour one large can of tomatoes with their juice over meat. Add enough water to come half-way up the height of the meat. Add bouillon cubes. Bring liquid to boiling, then reduce to medium-low/low heat and braise meat until it is tender and it can easily be shredded or torn. Turn meat once or twice during this process. The length of cooking time will depend on cut and size of beef, but it will be usually 3 - 5 hours. Remove meat and allow to cool slightly, then shred meat. SAVE COOKING LIQUID! Remove any fat or bones from beef while shredding meat. Once all meat is shredded, combine the meat and cooking liquid.  Store in fridge overnight in airtight container.

The morning you plan to serve the chili ...

In roaster pan (or slow cooker ... depending on how much chili you’re making), combine the following:

Prepared meat with cooking liquid (from night before)
More chopped onions and garlic, to your liking (I use 3 onions and 5 garlic cloves)
1 green pepper, finely chopped
1 large can of tomato juice (48 - 64 oz.)
4 large cans of tomatoes in their juice (any combination of chunky or crushed - mine are home-canned)
1 - 2 large cans of whole tomatoes in their juice
3 packets of chili seasoning (mild)
Variety of canned beans - I use light and dark kidney beans plus some chili beans (use about 10 cans for a large roaster pan).
1 large pepper (chopped finely) from a small can of Chili in Adobe Sauce. (These are very inexpensive and found in the Mexican section of supermarket. They are smoked chilies in a tomato sauce. DO NOT USE ONE CAN - JUST ONE PEPPER. They are pretty spicy!)
1 tsp. dried oregano
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tsp. cumin
Additional chili powder or chili seasoning to taste, as chili cooks, if desired
Hershey’s Kisses or milk chocolate bar - add towards end of cooking

Cook all day. I start on HIGH, then reduce to LOW later (after a few hours) as it cooks. Adjust chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper as it cooks. During last hour of cooking, add chopped kisses or chopped chocolate bars … start with just a little. My estimate is about 4 - 5 kisses or a 1/4 of a regular-size bar. It shouldn’t be sweet, however.

NOTE: I used one large beef roast for my large roaster pan, which was a ton of meat once shredded. If you’re making a smaller batch of chili in a slow cooker and if your roast is large, you may want to cut it in half before cooking and save the other half for another use. Or, you can cook the whole beef roast if it is a large one as directed above and only use half for the chili and reserve the other half for beef tacos on another day. Just add cumin or taco seasoning to meat on the day you’d like to make tacos! It is delicious in tacos or enchiladas!

Suggestions for making a smaller amount of chili:  If a roaster pan full of chili is too much for your gang, I would think cutting the recipe in thirds or fourths would be about right to fill a large, oval slow cooker.
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