You can't believe how much this chili cures cool weather! The whole-grain Kamut gives it a luxurious texture while they "real deal" chile paste offers complex layers of flavor. Yes, you can substitute wheat berries (soft, whites ones, please) or spelt berries for the Kamut. Both will have a somewhat firmer texture, not quite as insanely good.
If you haven't heard us blather about this recipe, check out our latest podcast episode. You can hear it in the media player above or you can check it out at iTunes here or on its web hosting page here (without giving Apple its due). Come cook with us. And laugh with at with us. You'll be glad you did.
Kamut and Beef Chili
- 2 cups Kamut
- 10 to 12 dried chiles, such as New Mexican reds, pasillas, mulattos, anchos, or chipotles (a mix of three kinds works best, weighted heavily toward New Mexican reds)
- 4 garlic cloves, quartered
- 2 tablespoons packed fresh oregano leaves
- 1/2 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 1 medium green bell pepper, stemmed, cored, and chopped
- 2 pounds beef top or bottom round, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (seriously!)
- One 12-ounce bottle dark beer, such as Negro Modelo
- 2 1/2 cups reduced-sodium beef broth
1. Soak the Kamut in a big bowl of cool water for at least 8 hours or up to 12 hours.
2. Stem the dried chiles, then open them up and tear out all the seeds and white membranes inside. Tear the skins into small pieces, then set these in a large, dry skillet over medium heat. Toast them, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Scrape the pieces into a big bowl and cover them with boiling water. Set aside to soak for 20 minutes.
3. Scoop out about 1/2 cup of the soaking liquid and set it aside. Drain the chiles in a colander set in the sink. Pour them into a food processor. Add the garlic, oregano, cumin seeds, salt, cinnamon, and 2 tablespoons of the reserved soaking liquid. Cover and process to a coarse paste, scraping down the inside of the bowl a couple of times. If the mixture is too thick, add additional soaking liquid in 1/2-tablespoon increments until it becomes a paste without being watery.
4. Set a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Add the oil, then the onion and bell pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the onion turns translucent, about 3 minutes.
5. Scrape all the prepared chile paste into the pot. Stir over the heat to toast it and develop its flavors for about a minute. Stir in the beef. Continue cooking, stirring often, until the beef is browned, about 4 minutes.
6. Pour in the beer. Stir down any foam, also scraping up any browned bits off the bottom of the pot's interior. Pour in the broth, raise the heat to medium-high, and bring the mixture to a full simmer.
7. Drain the Kamut into a fine-mesh sieve in the sink (or into a colander lined with paper towels). Stir the grains into the beef mixture. Bring back to a full simmer. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook until the beef and Kamut are tender, 2 - 2 1/2 hours. Before serving, set the pot off the heat, covered, for 10 minutes to develop the flavors.
Gussy up the bowlfuls with sliced pickled jalapeño rings, sour cream, shredded Cheddar, and/or minced scallions.