Monday, 15 December 2014

Southwest Cowboy Chili


When I was a little girl, I used to sit by my grandma and watch westerns like Bonanza, How The West Was Won and The High Chaparral. My grandma has a thing for cowboys. Cowboy songs, cowboy TV shows and anything cowboy. I don't know why. She referred to all those cowboy series as "cowboy phor" (cowboy story in Hokkien). So I guess I had a good dose of cowboys (and the occasional Red Indians) when I was growing up.


That was why I was quite amused when I saw this recipe. Even more so when I found that chocolate is one of the ingredients. I have watched cooking shows where chocolate is used in Mexican cooking. I used to wonder how a savory dish would taste like with chocolate. This was the time to find out.



I had two slabs of beef (weighing approximately 1kg/2lbs) in the freezer. The original intention was to cook my mum's beef curry. I left it to defrost in the fridge overnight. I was not certain what sort of chocolate to use (surely not the milk chocolate or dark chocolate that I like to nom nom on) but the recipe said unsweetened chocolate.



So I simply whacked the 70% cocoa dark chocolate that my auntie gave me. After all it was only 1/2 an ounce (full recipe is 1 ounce and I did half recipe) which is approximately 14g but I may have overdosed (because I was too lazy to use my kitchen scale).



The spice mix is made up of cumin powder, chili powder, ground cumin, dried oregano and smoked paprika. All these are mixed together with some beef stock (I used chicken stock hah..hah..) and chocolate. 



At the end of the cooking time, I had a taste of the gravy. I got an audible mmm..... from me. Not bad. But I could taste the chocolate. I know I put a bit too much or was it psychological? I knew there was chocolate in there and my mind probably registered the taste of chocolate. But it wasn't weird or anything like that. The recipe did say that you should keep the chili for up to 5 days in the fridge for the flavors to develop. That should do the trick.


I love my Mexican sambal.

On day three, I dished out some of the chili and let it stand to room temperature before heating it up. And yes! The flavors were so full bodied and so robust that a cowboy would whoop a lusty yeehaw upon tasting a spoonful. And best of all, I could not detect the taste of chocolate anymore. I served the chili sprinkled with some spring onions, cilantro and a heap of Salsa Roja Asada. It was good. So so good. Yeehaw!










Southwest Cowboy Chili
Recipe source : Nom Nom Paleo (page 224)
(My notes and adaptations in red)

Ingredients :
- 1 (4lb/2kg) beef chuck roast, cut into 2 inch cubes (I used 1kg)
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt (I omitted)
- 4 slices bacon, cut into 1/4 inch pieces (I whacked the whole 250g bacon in the packet, Amen)
- 1 medium yellow onion, cut into 1/2 inch dice
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste (I used 1 heap tablespoon)
- 1/4 cup Ancho chile powder (I used 1 tbsp cayenne powder)
- 2 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano (I used 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano)
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 6 cups Bone Broth or chicken stock, divided (I used 1.5 litre of water and added 1 chicken stock cube)
- 1 ounce (28g) unsweetened chocolate, shaved (I used about 35g, yikes! I just broke them into cubes as they will melt anyway)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- juice from 1 small lime (I omitted)
- Freshly ground black pepper

For garnishing (optional) :
- 1/2 medium white onion, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
- 1/2 cup minced cilantro
- 1/2 cup julienned radishes
- 2 small limes, quartered

Method :
1. Preheat oven to 275F (135C).
2. In a large bowl, toss the beef with salt and set aside (I skipped this).
3. Cook the bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Stir occasionally to ensure even browning. Once it's crisp, transfer the crunchy bacon to a platter with a slotted spoon.
4. Increase the heat to medium-high. In batches, add the beef in a single layer to the bacon drippings in the Dutch oven. Brown the meat on two sides, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the beef to a plate.
5. Lower the heat to medium, and add the yellow onion and tomato paste. Saute until the onion is tender and translucent, about 5 minutes. In the meantime, combine the chili powder, cumin oregano, paprika and 1/2 cup of the stock in a small bowl. Mix until smooth and then stir in the chocolate shavings.
6. When the onion is soft, stir in the garlic and chili-chocolate mixture, and cook for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add the seared beef, cooked bacon, the remaining broth and the lime juice. Stir well. Increase the heat to high and bring the contents of the Dutch oven up to a boil. Cover, but leave the lid slightly ajar. Place the pot in the oven, and cook for 3 hours or until meat is fork-tender. (I simmered the stew on the stove top. It took me 2 hours).
7. Taste and season with salt and pepper and place the chili in the refrigerator or up to 5 days to enable the flavors to meld. Reheat on the stove, and if desired, top with chopped white onion, cilantro, radishes and limes.





This post is also linked to Cook-Your-Books #19 hosted by Joyce of Kitchen Flavours.

41 comments:

  1. Oooo I guess this is one of those dishes that improves over time yea. It's kind of an acquired taste, me thinks, I had it once before in a Mexican restaurant but all I could taste was cocoa.

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    Replies
    1. Yen, if I have the opportunity I want to taste Mexican food and experience their food which contain chocolate.

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  2. Wait for me, i'm coming over for lunch later, kaka...

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    Replies
    1. Sharon, I am waiting for you hee..hee...

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  3. Good morning Phong Hong.. The only cowboy thingy I know comes from Barney.. There's this Barney show (DVD) that I keep playing for the boys every weekend, talks about cowboy costumes, cowboy food (baked beans), cowboy activities and cowboy songs of course, frankly, I got bored of it already, teehee..
    Oohhh, when I see the word Southwest and Chili, I think of Chili's chili already. The one in a small bowl, yummmzzz.. I like that you use beef chunks, and not minced beef, I always can't get enough from Chili's, Wendy's, The Burger Factory or Carl's Jr (they have this burger called messy burger where they banjir the burger with beef chili).. Your chili is so so good, like you said, yeehaw !!! Nice !!!

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    Replies
    1. Louiz, is that Barney the purple dinosaur? Yaargh...I watched that at my brother's house long time ago when my nephew was younger. I told myself I would go crazy if I had watch that everyday hah..hah...

      Strangely, I have not eaten Chilli's chilli. Must order the next time I go there.

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  4. oh, today Phong Hong is the cowboy!! hahaha.. very nice looking beef there and especially the garnishing makes it look even more tempting!! and you still have you Salsa Roja Asada, what a brilliant idea that you topped it on your Southwest Cowboy Chili, that is indeed so Mexican.. hmm, I wonder if you were wearing that huge Mexican hat - those made of tortilla and filled with dipping and you just snap a bit, dip and eat.. haha!! :D

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    1. Yeehaw, SK! Alamak, now I am imagining myself eating a Mexican hat hah..hah...

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  5. I've seen this Southwest Chili in the menu before when I went to an old school American diner in Loveland. But I chickened out worrying how chocolate beef would taste, so I went safe and had a normal steak >.<

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    Replies
    1. RG, I would have done the same hah..hah... I kind of took a chance here and I did taste chocolate at first but luckily the taste was gone after the dish settled for a few days.

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  6. Phong Hong, This dish looks so good with the colours of the garnishings. The gravy looks yummy. Everything just look so well put-together! I wish I live right next to you :P

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    1. Janice, I would have shared a bowl with you in return for Korean fried rice cakes!

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  7. Hi Phong Hong, just looking at your Cowboy Chili dish makes my mouth waters and I have to keep swallowing my saliva...lol. Ohhh plus the Mexican sambal...wahhh...so slurpy yummy.....

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    Replies
    1. Nancy, I wish you could taste it hah..hah...

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  8. Ahh...this is like the mole sauce used in Mexican cuisine. Actually, pairing chocolate with beef is quite common (I've seen it made by many contestants on Masterchef) but I've never had it before though...maybe, now is the time to try your recipe. I do like those from Chili's and Wendy's but I don't think there's any chocolate in them though.

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    Replies
    1. Strangely, it tastes pretty good even when I had my first taste and could detect the chocolate. I guess with the mixture of cumin and other ingredients, the chocolate that we know of does not come off as the same as chocolate eaten by itself.

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  9. Seems spicy ... looks more like Indian cuisine to me.. hahaha... or.maybe I'm not well versed in Mexican food.

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    1. Chris, it is spicy and has an exotic flavour. You might like it.

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  10. Everything seem so delicious...down to the mexican sambal! I lick the plate clean....

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    Replies
    1. Mel, I think you will tambah a second plate hah..hah...

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  11. Yeee Haaaw! I could be your grandma's best friend. I love cowboys until I always wanted to watch live rodeos and ride wild horses too. I went to Dallas and saw so many tall men wore cowboy hats. I was happy like a child. I love to eat anything with salsa! Yeeehaaw!!! Giddyup!

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    1. You too, TM? I just found out that cowboy food taste good!

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  12. You make my tummy rumbling lah! Hahaha

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  13. Oooooo....lovely!!! I wouldn't mind being a cowboy if I can get to eat that. Ummmm...maybe not the cowboy...or the Red Indian in The Village People though! LOL!!!

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    Replies
    1. Oh dear! That YMCA song is starting to play in my head LOL!

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  14. I have never tried any meat with chococlade:)
    intersting, I loved all Indians series in TV so partly also about cowboys:)

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    1. Ola, it's cute that you like cowboys too :)

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  15. Looks yummy! I can have a big bowl of rice with this! :p

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  16. Me ha encantado tu post, tienes cosas muy interesantes, felicidades por tu bloc. Te invito a visitar el mio, esta semana ponemos espíritu navideño en el exterior, espero que te guste. Ah! Si no eres seguidora deseo que te hagas, gracias por visitarme.Te espero en elracodeldetall.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Julia said :
      I loved your post, you have very interesting things, congratulations on your blog. I invite you to visit my own, this week we Christmas spirit in the outside, I hope that you like. Ah! If you're not follower my wish is that you do, thank you very much for visit me

      Julia, thank you! I will come by and check out your blog!

      Delete
  17. Hi Phong Hong, I thought a recipe from Ree thepioneerwoman ... cowboy ... Anyway, it looks tasty. But interesting got chocolate.

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    1. Karen, yeah think cowboy think Ree Drummond! This chili is tasty and luckily no chocolate taste of else it would be a disaster.

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  18. I remember watching Bonanza and How The West Was Won when I was just a little girl too. This dish sounds so interesting with chocolate. I would just love to taste it!

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    Replies
    1. Mun, this cowboy chili is very tasty but you won't be able to taste the chocolate once the flavours fuse together.

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    2. I will taste it immediately after it is ready for the chocolate taste. :)

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  19. Hi Phong Hong, such a delicious dish. Who can resists? I can't. How I wish I can taste this right away.

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    1. Kimmy, I wish that you could taste some and let me have your opinion if it is good. hee..hee...

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  20. Hi Phong Hong,
    As usual, your post makes me smile! I watched all those shows too, and do you remember Gunsmoke and Wild Wild West? haha! We grew up on those era, my parents love watching those shows, and my dad love listening to country and music songs, and we grew up enjoying those songs too!
    Your chilli looks delicious. I have seen recipes using choc in chillis and have always wanted to try it. I have one particular recipe bookmarked for YEARS!! haha!
    You make me smile with your bacon, I would use all of it too!
    Thanks for sharing with CYB!

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    1. Joyce, oh yes I remember Gunsmoke and Wild Wild West! Those were grandma's must watch TV shows too hah..hah... You must try cooking with chocolate. It does not taste weird at all. And yah, I just can't stand bits of leftovers in the fridge hence the whole packet of bacon went in. It added a LOT of flavour hah..hah...

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