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Pressure cooker chili

Posted Thursday, November 6, 2008, at 1:20 PM

My entry in our Times-Gazette chili cookoff today placed third (out of six), and I think we're only going to publish the winning recipe in the newspaper. So I'll share mine with you here, in case you're interested.

This is adapted from a recipe that Alton Brown made on his terrific Food Network show, "Good Eats." I tweaked the spices a bit. Alton's original recipe was for a Texas-style chili, meaning no beans, and I'm definitely into that, but I decided that my co-workers, including the judges, would expect beans in their chili. In this recipe, the beans are added at the last minute and are completely optional.

I bought a $30 pressure cooker just to use for this recipe and have been having fun doing other things with it as well -- rump roast, artichokes, homemade broth. There are some really nice pressure cookers now with instant release valves and what have you; I'd love one of those eventually, but my entry-level model works just fine.

3 pounds stew meat

2 teaspoons oil

1 teaspoon salt

1 (12-ounce) bottle of beer

1 (16-ounce) jar salsa

30 tortilla chips, crushed

2 chipotle peppers packed in adobo sauce, chopped

1 tablespoon adobo sauce (from the can of chipotle peppers)

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon chili powder

2 teaspoons ground cumin

3 bay leaves

2 (15-ounce) cans of beans, drained (I used one can of red beans and one can of black).

Place the meat in a large mixing bowl and toss with the oil and salt. Set aside.

Heat a 6-quart heavy-bottomed pressure cooker over high heat until hot. Add the meat in 3 or 4 batches and brown on all sides, approximately 2 minutes per batch. Once each batch is browned, place the meat in a clean large bowl.

Once all of the meat is browned, add the beer to the cooker to deglaze the pot.

Scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the meat back to the pressure cooker along with the salsa, tortilla chips, chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, tomato paste, chili powder, ground cumin and bay leaves and stir to combine.

You can adjust the spice level downward by leaving out one of the chipotle peppers or upward by using hot salsa instead of mild.

Lock the lid in place according to the manufacturer's instructions. Adjust your stove to bring the cooker to a safe pressure and maintain it according to your model's instructions. For some cookers, that means a weak whistle; for mine, it means the little regulator on top hisses and rocks back and forth. Once you are at pressure, cook for 25 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the pressure to drop according to your cooker's instructions, unless your cooker allows you to release the pressure immediately.

Open the cooker, stir the chili and remove the bay leaves. Drain the canned beans and add them to the chili, if desired.

Serve immediately, or refrigerate for the next day (it will be even better).

We had a great time today -- the Times-Gazette has some terrific cooks -- and raises a lot of money for one of our co-workers who has been battling illness. What could be better than chili for a good cause?

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I love Alton's shows! And your chili sounds delicious. Unfortunately, I'm allergic to some of the ingredients in the salsa and the peppers!! I would love to hear of other recipes you have, though! I can tweak it a bit if I need to! Thanks!!

-- Posted by candasons07 on Thu, Nov 6, 2008, at 4:54 PM

All the food at the T-G benefit was superb.

I had less cash on me than I would have liked to contribute but,maybe,I can bring more by directly.

There's been some good chili being offered around town lately and I'm a huge chili fan.

(I'll be even huger if we have many more of these cook-offs.)

I'll give this recipe a shot,John.

A green salad,some homemade applesauce,some Spanish guitar on the Victrola and a good paperback mystery (Rolando Hinojosa,perhaps? Susan Wittig Albert? Bill Crider,P.J.Grady or Tony Hillerman?) with an accompanying bowl of spicy soup would set just right on these brisk autumn evenings.

I'd like to see the other entrants' recipes,too.

Thanks for sharing your culiinary talents with us along with your journalistic expertise.

-- Posted by quantumcat on Mon, Nov 10, 2008, at 1:46 PM

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John I. Carney
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John I. Carney is city editor of the Times-Gazette.
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