February 2, 2014, Big Game Day. Or, for any game day, chili con carne, chilied beans with meat, fills the bill, whether for a few or many.
For the beans, I wholeheartedly proselytize pressure cooking them. There’s no soaking required, and in barely an hour you have a pot of homemade nutritious legumes. The method works for any dried bean, white, red, black, or speckled. But if you’re not so inclined, instead use canned organic beans, drained.
Serves 6 to 8
1 1/2 cups dried black beans
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 large cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 pound ground beef
2 tablespoons pure chile powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
5 cups chicken broth
6 to 8 cilantro sprigs, for garnish
12 or so flour or corn tortillas, for serving
1. First cook the black beans and set them aside (see the sidebar).
2. While the beans cook, heat the oil in a large, heavy pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the vegetables are soft but not browned, about 3 minutes.
3. Add the meat, chile powder, cumin, tomato paste, and salt and stir to mix and break up the meat clumps. Cook until the meat is very tender and the juices are bubbling, 15 to 20 minutes.
4. Add the broth and drained beans and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until the liquid is a rich cordovan brown/red and reduced by about half, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Stir and adjust the heat from time to time so the chili doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Serve right away or refrigerate for up to 3 days and reheat before serving.
5. Just before serving, warm or toast the tortillas. Ladle the chili into individual bowls, garnish each with a sprig of cilantro, and accompany with the tortillas on the side.