Tag Archives: Spices

Beef Chili~ A Spicy Point of View

Learning to prepare competition beef chili was a fun cooking experience. A couple years back my friend Sue asked me to enter a chili cook off with her. My experience with beef chili growing up consisted of that pre-packed envelope of chili spices that you added to ground beef. Growning up in a very Mexican environment, I always saw chili as a more American dish and something that I really came to love when I moved to Texas. I will never forget when I tasted my first frito chili pie at Deady Jr. High in Houston, Texas. Wow! I was hooked! The debate is still out on where the frito chili pie first originated, bit I am just happy to have discovered it no matter who invented it. There are many rules and regulations when it comes to preparing competition chili. Most often a typical  Texas Red style chili recipe is prepared with no fillers. When I say fillers, I mean no beans, macaroni or other type of fillers. It’s most often straight beef with dry spices, beef broth or bouillon. For today’s recipe I tried to stay true to the “cook-off” style chili to test out the flavors as compared to the homestyle chili I usually prepared with fresh onions, garlic and diced tomatoes. I did use some tomato product, green chiles and beans at the end since we would be enjoying this chili at home. I was happy with the results and would definitely prepare it this way again.  Although we did not place for our tasty version of competition chili, I did bring home a trophy for 1st place in the salsa competion! Lol! That’s a whole other blog post…#confessionsofachilehead

Learning to prepare competition beef chili
Learning to prepare competition beef chili

Ingredients

1 1/2  tablespoons olive or canola oil
2 pounds ground chuck or chuck roast, sliced small
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder

First Dump
6 ounces tomato paste
8 ounces tomato sauce
1/2 tablespoon tamarind paste
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon hickory flavored liquid smoke
1 packet Goya beef bouillon granules (enough for 2 cups of water)
2 1/2 cups water

Second Dump
2 tablespoon dark chili powder
2 tablespoons light chili powder
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1/2 ounce Mexican chocolate
1 1/2 teaspoons ground oregano
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground jalapeño
1 teaspoon Goya beef bouillon powder
2 cups water
1/4 cup masa harina mixed with 1/3 cup water
1 large Anaheim or poblano pepper, remove seeds and stems and dice finely.
*if you like, you could roast the pepper before adding, but I did not
15 oz. can pinto beans, drained
15 oz. can dark red kidney beans, drained

Third Dump
Check for chili spices, maybe add in another 1/2 tablespoon of each…cumin…check for salt

Preparing Competition Beef Chili
Preparing Competition Beef Chili
Preparing Competition Beef Chili
Preparing Competition Beef Chili. We used chuck roast and sliced it small for the cook off.

 

Directions

 

This is as simple as it gets!

1. In a large dutch oven style pot, preheat the oil to medium high heat until just before smoking. Add the beef and season with  1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper and 1 teaspoon granulated garlic. Stir fry until meat is nicely seared and somewhat charred in some spots. I start light with the seasonings because you will season as you go.

 

2. Once the meat is nice and seared, add all of the ingredients listed for the First Dump. I know it makes me laugh everytime I read that, but it makes sense in the world of chili cook off competitions. Stir well to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and taste for salt. Cover and cook for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring as needed. You really want the raw flavors of of the tomato products to cook out and deepen the flavors.

 

3. When ready, add all of the ingredients listed for the Second Dump. Repeat by stirring well to combine, bringing up to a simmer, tasting for salt. In a small bowl, whisk the masa harina with 1/2 cup of water and stir into the chili until well incorporated.  Add in the green chile and drained beans. Continue cooking for another 35 to 40 minutes, stirring as needed.

4. Now once you reach the Third Dump, this is where you can make the recipe your own by adjusting the spice levels to your taste. I usually end up adding a little more of each spice, minus the salt and a couple dashes of hot sauce. Simmer for another 25 to 30 minutes. Yields  up to 8 servings.

Competition Beef Chili
Competition Beef Chili. I thought the chili was tasty, but alas, the judges thought ir was a little too spicy for competiotion, lol! Story of my life!
In the midst of the chili cook off!
In the midst of the chili cook off! It was a great experience and alot of fun, but I prefer to cook a feast for friends instead of competing in any food competition.
Sue and I testing out the beef chili at the cook off
Sue and I testing out the beef chili at the cook off. I really love hanging out with my friend Sue. She has great knowledge of all that is food. She owns a quaint kitchen store in our local town where the most fabulous dishes are created at her international cooking classes.
Test Run Beef Chili
Test Run Beef Chili
One of my all time favorite Tex Mex treats! Frito Beef Chili Pie!
One of my all time favorite Tex Mex treats! Frito Beef Chili Pie! Pile on the cheese, chili, fritos, hot peppers, green onions and extra hot sauce!!

A Spicy Blend For Mexican Chorizo

Spicy  Chorizo Blend. A few months back I taught a Mexican cooking class at the local kitchen store. The star and focus of the evening was my version of a Mexican style chorizo. After several trial runs and many bowls and breakfast tacos filled with homemade chorizo, this dry chile and spice blend was my favorite. The first two versions I tried called for straining sauce and pork and it simply put too much strain on my bad arm and wrist. My approach to this recipe was to simply create a spice blend that was similar to all of the flavors you would find in chili, but with the added flavors of Mexican chorizo. What makes this recipe stand out? For one, using dried peppers and whole spices is so different than already ground spices from the store. The second thing is the toasting of the dried chiles and whole spices. You could never find  spices that are this fragant and fresh from a jar. So, my goal was to be able to prepare a chorizo spice blend that I could prepare ahead of time from scratch and have on hand to add to my favorite ground meat for a Mexican chorizo I could feel good about eating.

Toasted Chiles and Spices  For Chorizo Blend
Toasted Chiles and Spices For Chorizo Blend
Toasted Spices....Cumin Seeds, Peppercorns, Oregano, Coriander Seeds, Cinnamon and Anise Seeds
Toasted Spices….Cumin Seeds, Peppercorns, Oregano, Coriander Seeds, Cinnamon and Anise Seeds
Dried Chile Ancho, New Mexico and Arbol Toasted and Ground For Blend
Dried Chile Ancho, New Mexico and Arbol Toasted and Ground For Blend

Ingredients

4 chile ancho
4 chile New Mexico or guajillo
6 to 10 chile de arbol
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
11/2 tablespoons Mexican oregano
1/2 tablespoon peppercorns
4 whole cloves
1/2 piece of cinnamon stick
Pinch of anise seeds
2 tablespoons granulated garlic
1 1/2 tablespoons annatto powder
1 teaspoon chipotle powder
2 teaspoons salt or to taste
6 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 pounds ground pork
* I added another 1/2 tablespoon of crushed oregano once it was all mixed

Chile Ancho
Chile Ancho
New Mexico, Guajillo and Chile California all similar in flavor, slight heat difference
New Mexico, Guajillo and Chile California all similar in flavor, slight heat difference
Chile de Arbol
Chile de Arbol

 

Directions

1. In a pan, on low/medium heat, toast the chile ancho, new mexico or guajiilo and chile de arbol for a few minutes. Don’t let them burn, just until they become aromatic and dry out a little more. Remove from heat and let them cool.

2. In that same pan on low/medium heat, toast the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, oregano, peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon and anise until they become aromatic. Toast for about 5 minutes, stirring now and then.Remove from heat.

3. Remove the stems and seeds from peppers. Tear the peppers into smaller pieces. In batches, grind all the toasted peppers and toasted spices to a fine powder, mix  all together.

4. In a large bowl, combine the ground spice mix with remaining spices, ground pork and vinegar. Mix well until spices are distributed evenly. Cook a small portion of the chorizo to check for seasoning. Add seasoning to taste. Cover and refrigerate overnight. The flavors will improve imensely the longer the chorizo marinates in the spices. If not using right away, freeze in 1/2 portions using quart size freezer bags. Yields 8 to 10 servings.

Tips~ Not only for preparing chorizo, but this blend would make a great dry rub for beef or pork roast, a whole chicken. It kind of reminds me of a Mexican version of jerk spices. Can’t wait to try it on some shrimp!

Wonderful Chiles and Spices
Wonderful Chiles and Spices
Spicy Mexican Chorizo Prepared with Spice and Chile Blend
Spicy Mexican Chorizo Prepared with Spice and Chile Blend

Chile Dry Rub Grilled Chicken w/ Spicy Pickled Onions

In the midst of smoking a 10 pound pork butt last weekend, my husband and I were hungry! It was then that I remembered that I had some chicken that had been marinating in a spice rub or seasoning mix for my homemade chorizo recipe. The purpose of developing this recipe using all dried spices was to make it easier for people to prepare a quick version of homemade mexican chorizo at home. I did not want people to avoid preparing the chorizo recipe because they were not sure about using dried chiles for the first time, or maybe they were not available. I have to say, that I was extemely happy with the results of the chorizo. So, it never fails that whenever I mix a new season mix for one recipe, I always end up having some leftover. I literally seasoned the chicken 2 days before and forgot all about it. I pulled the chicken from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature. The grill was already preheating for the 10 pound pork butt that was about to go on for 12 hours. A quick 8 to 10 minutes per side on the chicken and we were ready to eat. Instead of serving it with salsa, I threw together a spicy quick pickled red onion with a few hot peppers I had grilled. Both my husband and I agreed, that those chicken tacos with spicy pickled onions were the best tacos we have had in a long time! Must serve with corn tortillas. Just goes to show that sometimes the spontaneous creations can end up being as good, if not better, than the well planned meal.

Chile Dry Rub Grilled Chicken with Spicy Pickled Red Onions
Chile Dry Rub Grilled Chicken with Spicy Pickled Red Onions

I really wanted to think of a fun and clever name for my spice rub, but nothing came to mind….still working on it!
For Chile Dry Rub
3 tablespoons chile ancho powder
3 tablespoons guajillo powder or another red, mild chile powder, such as Gebhardt brand
2 tablespoons vinegar powder or 2 teaspoons citric acid
2 tablespoons granulated garlic
2 tablespoons onion powder
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon annatto powder
1/2 tablespoon coriander
1/2 tablespoon cumin
1/2 tablespoons Mexican oregano, crushed
1/2 tablespoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground clove
1 teaspoon chipotle or cayenne pepper powder
2 teaspoons salt or to taste
*Tips~ if you can’t find a mild red chile powder, you could purchase a mild (low salt) pre-mixed chili seasoning from the store. If it has salt, taste before adding more

Chile Spice Rub Grilled Chicken
Chile Spice Rub Grilled Chicken with Spicy Pickled Onions
Homemade Chile Dry Rub Seasoning
Homemade Chile Dry Rub Seasoning

Tips~ If you are fortunate enough to live in an area where dried chile peppers are available, you must try preparing your own chile powders. Remove stems and seeds from peppers. Toast the peppers on a preheated griddle or comal for a few minutes or just until they become aromatic. Never leave them unattended or they can burn and become bitter in flavor.  Along side of the peppers, I like to toast my own whole spices and grind them as well. Grind them in a spice grinder, commercial blender or coffee grider. Needless to say, I only use my coffee grinder for spices…It’s a must try! You will not regret it! The best peppers to use are chile ancho, guajillo, pasilla or New Mexico.

 

*1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken thighs (4 to 5 pieces)
*Oil for grill pan or outdoor grill

For Onions
1 medium red onion, sliced thin
2 hot peppers of your choice, roasted or grilled
Juice of 5 key limes or 2 regular limes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Salt to taste

1. Season the chicken generously with dry rub on both sides. Cover and marinate for 24 hours or up to 2 days in refrigerator.

2. Remove chicken from refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking time so it comes to room temperature.

3. About an hour before cooking chicken, combine all of the ingredients for the pickled onions. Stir well to combine, taste for salt. Cover and set aside.

4. Preheat a stove top grill pan or outdoor grill to medium heat for 5 to 6 minutes. Drizzle or brush with oil. Cook the chicken for 8 to10 minutes per side (with lid closed) or until internal temperature read 165 degrees F. Remove from heat and let stand for a few minutes before serving. Slice and garnish with pickled red onions. Serve with warm corn tortillas and your favorite salsa. Yields 4 servings.

Chile Dry Rub Grilled Chicken
Chile Dry Rub Grilled Chicken
Chile Dry Rub Grilled Chicken
Chile Dry Rub Grilled Chicken