Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Italian Chili One-Pot

By Paul Briand

Can you have too many recipes for chili?

I say no.

Chili, for me, is one of those comfort foods I will return to time and again, and in my book it's OK to tweak a favorite recipe or even create a stockpile of different recipes.

I think the same is true for spaghetti sauce and for meatloaf.

This Italian version on the theme is from one of my tried-and-trues, Rachael Ray.

A couple of note on my approach to this recipe. I didn't use the chili peppers out of respect for my wife, Jane, who is slowly warming up to spicier food. And the 3 cups of stock called for in Ray's recipe seemed like a lot as I was cooking. I used maybe a little more than a cup.

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 pound pancetta, diced, optional
About 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, a scant palmful
2 pounds ground beef or ground pork or beef and pork combined
Salt and pepper
2 red cherry chili peppers or red Fresno chili peppers, sliced or seeded and chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 to 4 cloves garlic, chopped
About 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 28-ounce can cannellini beans or chickpeas, drained
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 cup dry wine, red or white or 1 cup Italian beer
3 cups beef stock for beef-only chili or chicken stock for pork chili or beef and pork combined
Optional Accompaniments:
Shredded provolone cheese
Shredded basil
Finely chopped raw onion

1. Heat the oil in pot over medium-high heat;
2. Add pancetta, if using, brown to crisp then add fennel seeds;
3. Add meat, brown and crumble, and season with salt and pepper;
4. Once the meat is browned well, add chili peppers, onions, garlic, fresh or dried oregano and cook until onions are translucent, 8-10 minutes more;
5. Add beans and stir in tomato paste. Cook 1 minute until fragrant, then add wine or beer;
6. Let the liquid cook down then stir in stock. Simmer to combine flavors;
7. Serve in bowls topped with cheese and basil or chopped onion.

Digg this

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