Never mind temperatures in the 70s: When football games fill the weekend TV schedule and grocery checkout lanes are clogged with orders of beer and chips, it feels good to make a pot of chili.
This one's relatively quick and employs the technique of flavoring and cooking the meat separately, then adding it as a substantial topping, as it were.
Serve with baked flour tortilla triangles or warm corn bread and a glass of a dark, full-bodied, malty beer, such as a doppelbock from Troegs Brewing Co. in Harrisburg, Pa.
- 1 1/2 pounds sirloin steak (can be in 2 or 3 pieces)
- 4 to 6 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 medium sweet onion
- 1 medium green bell pepper
- 2 medium cloves garlic
- 1 small jalapeño pepper
- 5 or 6 ripe tomatoes
- 3 1/2 to 4 cups canned black beans (from two 15-ounce cans), preferably Eden brand
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup water
- Leaves from 6 to 8 stems cilantro
Trim off and discard any excess fat from the steak.
Combine 1 teaspoon of the chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon of the cumin and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt in a small bowl; rub the mixture into both sides of the steak.
Melt the butter in a large skillet over high heat (and turn on your exhaust fan). Sear the steak for 2 minutes on each side, then reduce the heat to medium and cook for 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
Meanwhile, cut the onion and green bell pepper into small dice. Mince the garlic and jalapeno pepper, discarding the jalapeno seeds. Cut the tomatoes into 1/2- to 3/4-inch pieces; seed, if desired. Drain and rinse the black beans.
Add the oil to the same skillet that was used to cook the steak; heat over high heat. Add the diced onion, garlic and peppers; cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly, then add the tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they begin to release their juices. Add the water and return to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining 3 to 5 teaspoons of chili powder (to taste), the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of cumin and the drained beans; mix well.
While the chili is cooking, coarsely chop the cilantro.
Cook the chili for 15 to 17 minutes, until it has darkened and the vegetables have softened. Then place the large pieces of cooked steak in the chili (to warm the meat through). Cook undisturbed for 3 minutes, then turn off the heat. Transfer the steak to a cutting board. Cut into thin slices.
Add the cilantro to the chili; taste, and adjust the seasoning as needed. Divide among individual bowls; fan slices of steak over each portion. Serve hot.
Adapted from "The Everything Soup, Stew & Chili Cookbook," by Belinda Hulin (Adams Media, 2009).
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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