Atheist Cookbook: Four Horsemen Chili

A few years ago I came across a recipe for wasabi chili, and while I wasn’t too crazy about the key ingredient or the sickly amount of chili powder, I did like the overall flavor after a couple of modifications.  So, for your reading and eating pleasure, I give you my personalized version, which I call Four Horsemen Chili, in honor of the pioneers of New Atheism.  (Actually, it’s just because I eventually put four types of peppers in there and it seemed a convenient moniker … but hey, you guys benefit either way.)

This is what you’ll need:

The meat:

1 lb. ground beef (I’ve also used buffalo, pork, and turkey.  You can use braised short ribs if you’re feeling really ambitious … I never am.)

The cocktail:

3/4 cup (6 oz.) dark beer (Guinness, Murphy’s, etc.)
1/2 cup (4 oz.) strong black coffee
3/4 cup (6 oz.) tomato paste
1 cup (8 oz.) beef stock

The veggies:

4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 14 1/2 oz. can peeled diced tomatoes (san Marzanos if you can find them)
1 15 1/4 oz. can of the tri-bean (pinto, kidney, black) blend, drained and rinsed.
1 15 1/4 oz. can of whole kernel corn (optional)

The spice mix:

1/2 T chili powder (add this to taste; I personally find too much of it overpowering)
1/2 T ground cumin (get the whole stuff, toast it, and then grind it up)
1/2 T packed brown sugar
1 t cayenne pepper
1/2 t dried oregano
1/2 t ground coriander (same here … get the whole stuff and bloom it first)
1/2 t salt

The Horsemen:

1 habanero pepper, chopped
1 serrano pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
1 Anaheim pepper, chopped

The work:

Place 2 tablespoons of vegetable / canola / safflower oil in a 4 quart saucepan and place it over medium heat. Cook the ground meat until browned, and then drain it thoroughly. (Very important or else it will come out too greasy). Stir in the tomato paste first to make sure it’s evenly distributed. Then pour in the diced tomatoes, beer, coffee, and broth. Stir in beans and corn. Season with chili powder, cumin, sugar, oregano, cayenne, coriander, and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer.

In a skillet over medium heat, heat another two tablespoons of oil. Cook Anaheim, serrano, jalapeno, and habanero peppers in oil with the garlic and onion the onion is translucent and peppers are soft, roughly 10 minutes. Be sure to cover the skillet with a lid and use the fume hood. I’m not joking about this. Stir into the pot and cook on low for 2 hours (basically until the beans lose their potency).

Serve with shredded sharp cheddar cheese, a loaf of crusty bread (or cornbread), and stout beer.  For added effect, pour yourself a glass of Johnny Walker and sit back while your friends or family are eating, taking the opportunity to point at them and shout “where is your god now?!” if they begin to sweat, ask for water, or reach for more bread.

The suggestions:

Cut up the peppers using a pair of thin cooking gloves, and wash thoroughly when you’re done. When sautéing the peppers, be careful not to gas yourself or loved ones. I speak from experience. I actually cooked the peppers with the lid on tight until I felt they were done, and then went out on to the porch to let them cool on the grill. Worked out fine.

I’ve cooked the chili both on the stove top and in the crock pot, depending on how much I make at once. The crock pot is nice because you can get it going early in the day and then let it slow cook until dinnertime. It also has the added benefit of giving plenty of time to neutralize the “effects” of the beans, as well as letting all of the flavors get to know one another.

If you can’t handle the heat of the peppers, leave the habanero out and replace it with another Anaheim. Alternatively, dig out the seeds and the pith; that will cut down on the heat. Also keep in mind that it will mellow out after about a day in the fridge.

Enjoy … see you tomorrow!

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2 Responses to Atheist Cookbook: Four Horsemen Chili

  1. Verrain says:

    Considering my tolerance for spice, I think this would definitely start the Apocalypse in my stomach.

    • You can also leave all of the peppers minus the Anaheims out altogether. That should give you a pretty mild yet flavorful chili. Well, eventually, anyway … it’s not exactly pepper season and the existing selection at Freddy’s is pretty old and beat up.

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