Spring Fling: Short Rib Chili

Spring is here, spring is here! Well… sort of. In between glorious bits of sunshine, it’s still a little chilly which makes chili the perfect choice for dinner!

We picked up some beautiful boneless short ribs the other day, but I’m mixing it 50/50 with beef stew meat for a slightly more budget-friendly meal. This spicy hearty chili is a great option for weekend camping trips too (we usually make chili ahead of time and then reheat it in cast iron). And let me just say, these pictures may not be great, but the chili was amazing (seal of approval from The Boyfriend too).

For this recipe, you will need:
crockpot/slow cooker
non-stick pan
blender

Ingredients: 
~ 1.25 lb boneless beef short ribs
1 lb beef stew meat
2 cans (14.5oz) diced tomatoes
1 can (16oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (7oz) chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1.5 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 clove elephant garlic (or 3-5 cloves garlic)
3 dried chili peppers
2 tsp extra dark cocoa powder
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1-2 tsp avocado oil (olive or coconut is fine)

Seasoning: 
4 tsp ancho chili powder
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp salt / to taste

Add one can of diced tomatoes and liquid to the crockpot. With the other can of diced tomatoes, drain the liquid first (do not rinse) and add to the pot. Drain and rinse beans until water runs clear, add beans to the crockpot. Remove stems and seeds from dried chili peppers and combine in blender cup with one full can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Blend pepper mixture for about one minute or until it resembles a uniform paste and add to the crockpot. Add 2 tsp extra dark cocoa powder, 2 tsp salt, and 2 tsp ancho chili powder to the crockpot mix.

Using a sharp knife, finely chop elephant garlic clove (also called elephant toes) or 3-5 cloves normal-sized garlic. Set aside in a bowl with the chopped onion. Add 2 tsp each of oregano, cumin, and ancho chili powder to the onions and garlic.

One clove of elephant garlic vs a whole head of "regular" garlic

One clove of elephant garlic vs. a whole head of “regular” garlic

Pre-heat oil in a non-stick pan on high-heat. While the pan is heating up, dice the ribs and stew meat into ~1/2 cubes – they do not at all have to be uniform in shape, just similar in size. You want the pieces to be small enough that they are “bite size” but big enough that they can still be shredded later on. Add meat to the pan, in batches if necessary, and cook for 3-5 minutes on one side only to sear the meat and lock in some flavor. Add all of the meat to the crockpot.

In the same pan, add the onion-garlic-spice mixture and cook on medium heat for 3-5 minutes until fragrant and the onions have softened slightly. Add this to the crockpot.

Add 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar, stir to mix everything together, and set crockpot on low for 7-9 hours. If you don’t want to wait that long, try cooking on high for 3-5 hours checking periodically to make sure it doesn’t burn. If you find that the chili has let off a lot of liquid, you can crack the lid a little bit to let some of the liquid evaporate. I personally prefer a thicker chili (as opposed to more liquid) so we usually crack the lid for half the cooking time.

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Serve immediately – as is, with chopped raw onion on top, with guacamole, or with grilled veggies.

Store in the fridge up to three days.

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Saturday Morning Shakshuka

This recipe was updated on 02 June 2014. My seasoning ingredients have been slightly altered, the recipe itself remains the same.

I saw a recipe for this sumptuous North African/Israeli dish months ago, but hadn’t had a good opportunity to play around. An errand-less Saturday morning is just what I needed! Packed with some serious flavor and topped with a half-dozen farm fresh eggs, shakshuka is the perfect dish for breakfast in the living room, brunch with the folks, or dinner for two.

As with most delicious things, you will need a deep cast iron skillet.

Ingredients: 
5-6 large eggs
28 oz canned tomatoes with liquid (diced or whole)
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 tsp minced garlic (3-5 cloves)
2 medium hot peppers, seeded and chopped
2-3 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp olive oil

Seasoning: 
Freshly cracked salt, to taste
Freshly cracked pepper, to taste
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp harissa
1 tsp za’atar
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp celery salt
2 tsp basil (or 2 Dorot cube)

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Egg #5 of 6. The last one goes in the middle!

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in your cast iron skillet over medium heat, moving from side to side to cover the bottom of the pot. Add chopped onions and sauté for 3-5 minutes or until softened. Add peppers, basil, and garlic and continue sautéing for an additional 5 minutes or so until peppers begin to soften. Note: if using fresh basil, add it after the eggs to retain flavor and freshness.

Add 28 oz crushed tomatoes in their liquid plus two large tablespoons of tomato paste, mix very well. Add all seasoning/spices/herbs and mix again, making sure to break up any clumps that may have formed. Bring to a simmer and allow mixture to reduce slightly on medium-low heat (about 10 minutes). Now is the time to taste and adjust your flavors.

Reduce heat to low and crack 5-6 large eggs over the tomato mixture – I did five around the outside and one in the middle. Cover with lid, leaving slightly ajar, bring heat back up to medium-low, and allow to cook for 8-10 minutes until eggs are cooked (whites should actually be white) but yolks are still runny. If you like your eggs with a more solid yolk, cook for an additional 3-5 minutes.

Serve immediately – as is, with protein of choice, or over zoodles!

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