Since I was about 20 I’ve been making chili. It was one of the first dishes I learned to make and in university it was a crowd pleaser that you could eat for an entire week if you made enough of it. Over the past decade I have evolved this recipe. I don’t think i’ve ever made it the same twice but I may mention something about the meat in the chili once or twice. It is not a classic chili by any means; It has beans, it’s spicy, it has two different meats in it, it is sweet, and it should be cooked in a pot. This is not a pour everything into a slow cooker and coming back in 2 hours kind of a chili. This is a three to four hour job and the first 45 minutes of it is about treating the meat in the best possible way. Chili is about the meat, the other flavours, textures and consistencies are where you play jazz. As long as your meat is done properly the rest of the dish is about being patient and layering the flavours. As you will see, I am serious about this, it’s not an easy recipe.
1.5 pounds of ground bison brisket
3 Chorizo Sausages* (casings removed and the meat hand shredded)
1 bottle of Willy’s Chili Sauce**
2 cloves of Garlic (rough chopped.)
1 Can of black beans.
1 Dried ancho chili(cut into strips)
3 medium sized roma tomatoes(Rough chopped)
4 poblano peppers(rough chopped)
2 Thai Chilies (diced)
1 tbs cumin
1 tbs smoked paprika
Open a bottle of your favorite dark ale***
The Meat: In a large deep pot, with a little canola oil, on medium high heat.****Brown the shredded chorizo. The add the bison by pinching the meat off into small chunks and continue to brown all of the meat. You want to get a nice amount of char on the chunks of bison, they are going to act like mini meat balls that will will get a nice crust when it’s dropped into the put full of the fat from the chorizo. Remember do not dice up the meat with your flipper you want chunks of bison. If you need to, and you probably will, deglaze the pot with beer, it’s just a nice way to cool the pot down and pick up all those meaty flavours off the surface of the pot and back into the meat, this is the base of the entire dish, making sure you are creating big meaty flavours.***** When the meat is cooked bring your temp down to medium/low you add the dried Ancho chili, let the pepper soak up that meat base and release it’s flavours. Continue to de-glaze if needed. You then add the cumin and paprika mix it all together with the meat base. You then add the Thai chili. And you meat should be done after about 45 minutes you want the meat sitting in this rich smokey stew like concoction.
The Rest: Add the beans first, they will soak up the beefy sauce and kind of act like floating meat distribution systems while the chili cooks. You then add the tomato. You then add the chili sauce, I usually add half the bottle and leave half in case I feel i need to give more of the acidty and sweetness. Add to your taste. You then turn down to low heat, cover and let those flavours marry for about 3 hours. I like to stir every 10 minutes just to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom. At low heat it shouldn’t really happen unless you really neglect it. With about 15 minutes left to go add the diced poblano peppers but save some for garnish. They will bring some bright fresh flavours to the chili. Also as you stir taste the chili, make sure everything is in balance. There should be a smokey meaty undertone to the chili the heat should not be over powering.****** There should be some sweetness as well, i like to balance sweet against heat. The consistancy of the chili should not be watery but your spoon should not be able to stand up the in the pot. Somewhere in between, to you taste. I like to top the chili with a little bit of shredded colby cheese (cheddar will do) diced poblano peppers and cilantro.
Eating Instructions: You should eat this with a stick of french bread in one hand and a spoon in the other.******
*You need real chorizos not processed filler added sausages. These babies need to be pulled apart and shredded into ground beef consistency.
**This is a total cop out. It is just that I don’t expect you to pickle your own peppers. Willy’s is a chili sauce with pickled peppers in it. It’s a no fuss way to get the acidity and some sweetness into the chili. You can get it at Zehers.
***And 11 of it’s friends should be chilling to pair with this chili.
****I used a 10.5 liter stock pot and by no means do i fill it but it’s a lot of surface area to a whole lot of meat more evenly.
*****You will also want to make sure you meat is chunky. I almost pinch off the meat and compress it.
******My friend Dave W and I made a habanero chili that made us both feel like we had appendicitis. It was the most manly moment followed by the least manly moment of my life.
*******This means you are really going to get inventive when you are drinking those beers I mentioned in footnote number three.