I like chili. I like any kind of chili. I like the Texas chili that is just chilis and beef. I like New Mexico green chilis with pork. I like the midwestern hamburger, beans and tomato soup like substance that we call chili here. Everyone has their favorite. I don't have one. I make it different every time depending on what I am feeling on that day.
So, here I was on a cold day last week looking in my cupboards for some dinner inspiration when I spied a bag of dried ancho chilis. I thought, why not make a midwestern/Texas/whatever chili fusion with ancho?
So, I started with about 10 chilis that were seeded and crumbled up.
I poured some boiling water onto the chilis and left them to soak for a while. For a bit more heat I also added a couple tablespoons of Korean red pepper flakes along with the anchos.
When everything was well hydrated I added about 5 cloves of garlic, salt, pepper and a chopped onion and whirred it up in my blender to make a smooth paste. I added some lemon juice and more water until it was the right sauce like consistency. My blender was almost full to the top.
To season the dish even more I toasted some spices. Here is my favorite mix of cumin seeds, corriander and a few cardamom pods. These were ground up in a coffee grinder.
To make my chili, I started by searing the beef in a hot pan with some salt and pepper for a few minutes, just until it started to get brown on the bottom of the pan. Next went in the ground spices. I then added the chili sauce to the pan and covered it. This was simmered for about three hours until the beef was drop dead tender. To finish the chili I added chopped carrots and a can of kidney beans and cooked it until the carrots were tender.
My chili was served over white steamed rice with a side of 5-minute artisan wheat bread. The ancho flavor was wonderful.