Sunday, September 2, 2012

"Lanie's-World's Greatest Chili"-Made Meat-Free for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

Is this recipe from Rick Bayless and his daughter Lanie truly "The World's Greatest Chili?" I am not willing to declare it that, but, I will say that it is pretty darn good. It's simple but has a full rich flavor and a subtle heat from the toasted ancho chiles. I used soy crumbles to make a meat-free version--not that you'd know it when eating it. 

The recipe can be found in Rick & Lanie's Excellent Kitchen Adventures, or on the Rick Bayless' website here. I had an extra ancho and wanted more beans so I increased quantities of other ingredients--my changes are in red below.

Rick says, "This is classic chili – more or less Tex-Mex style.  If you make it with the whole ancho chile pods (sometimes called pasilla chile pods on the West Coast), use coarse-ground meat (the classic “chili grind” in the Southwest), brown it well, and add fresh-ground spices; it’ll be one of the best chilis you’ve tasted. The difference between chili and chile?  Chili is the dish; chile is the pod.  Why not use regular chili powder?  Because it usually contains dried spices (including salt and sugar), which you may not like.  If chili powder’s all you’ve got, use 4 tablespoons, leave out the cumin, and go easy on the salt.  Chile pods and pure ground chile are available in all Mexican grocery stores."

"The World's Greatest Chili
Adapted from Rick & Lanie's Excellent Kitchen Adventures
(Serves 4-6)

4 large (about 2 oz) ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded and torn into large pieces
    OR 3 Tbsp pure ground ancho, New Mexico or California chile (I used 5 large anchos)
2 Tbsp bacon drippings, vegetable oil or olive oil (olive oil)
1 1/2 lbs ground beef, ground pork or a mixture of the two (used soy crumbles)
1 medium onion, cut into 1/4-inch pieces (I used a large sweet onion)
3 garlic cloves, peeled and halved (I used 4 cloves)
1 (15-oz) can diced tomatoes (preferably fire-roasted) (I used 2 cans fire-roasted)
1 tsp ground cumin (I used 2 tsp)

2 Tbsp masa harina (the flour used to make corn tortillas) or corn meal (used 3 Tbsp)
1 (15-oz) can pinto beans (also used 1 can black beans)

about 1 cup grated cheese, for serving (subbed in diced avocado)
3 green onions, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces, for serving 

Toast and soak chiles.   Heat large deep skillet or a large heavy pot (like a 6- to 9-quart Dutch oven) over medium. When hot, toast chiles one by one: open flat and press down with spatula until chile releases aroma and toasts lightly - 10 to 15 seconds.  Flip and toast other side same amount of time.  Transfer to a small bowl. When all are done, cover with hot tap water and lay a plate on top to keep the chiles submerged. 

Brown meat and onion.   Raise heat under pan to medium-high.  Add bacon drippings or oil, then add the meat and onion.  Break up meat with spoon or spatula as it cooks and browns—total cooking time about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.  If there is lots of rendered fat, tip it off and discard.

Make seasoning.   Drain chiles, discarding water.  Place in food processor fitted with steel blade.  Add garlic, tomatoes with their juices and cumin.  Secure lid and process until smooth. Set medium-mesh strainer over meat pot.  Pour in chile mixture and press through.

Simmer chile.   Return pan to medium-high heat.  Stir 5 minutes to cook chile mixture.  Stir in 2 cups water and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Reduce heat to medium-low.  Simmer 45 minutes.  

Finish and serve.   Sprinkle corn meal or masa harina over chili and stir. Stir in drained beans if using.  Simmer 5 minutes.  Taste and season with more salt if you think necessary.  Ladle chili into bowls. Scoop cheese and green onion into small serving bowls. Pass separately for guests to add as much as they want.

Notes/Results: A tasty bowl of chili that hit the spot. I like the slightly roasty warm flavor from the toasted chili and the extra beans I added made it nice and hearty. The soy crumbles I used were Gardein Meatless Ground and texture-wise, they are some of the best that I have found. This would be a great dish for pleasing both carnivores and vegan/vegetarian eaters alike--very satisfying, especially when topped with creamy avocado and serve with crunchy tortilla chips. I would make this again.

This is for the "Out(side) of Mexico" them at I Heart Cooking Clubs. Tex-Mex may not seem that far from Mexico, but chili was what I wanted this week. ;-)

Some good friends are waiting in the Souper Sundays kitchen--let's take a look at what they brought.

Ana of Sweet Almond Tree brings a classic Beef and Barley Soup and says, "Savory, steamy broth, beef so perfectly cooked it melted in one's mouth, and beans and barley, warm and filling.  This is the kind of soup you ladle into your best china.  This is the kind of soup you set the table for.  The kind of soup you're proud to serve to your family.  Four days later, and we're now down to the last serving.  You're looking at it in these pictures.  It's waiting in the refrigerator and it will make the perfect snack for one very lucky person."

Pam of Sidewalk Shoes has a healthy Grilled Vegetable Quinoa Salad to share this week and says, "I had some leftover grilled veggies (zucchini, yellow squash, red peppers and onions).  Not enough to use by themselves.  So I cooked up some quinoa, made a quick homemade herb vinaigrette (olive oil, lemon juice, fresh parsley and thyme), and tossed it all together, with some salt and pepper.  Served along side the leftover grilled chicken.  Perfect.

Janet of The Taste Space made this summer-perfect BLT Corn Pinto Bean Salad with Raw Eggplant Bacon. She says, "Obviously, this salad pushes monumental levels when you use fresh, ripe ingredients. Fresh heirloom tomatoes, check. Local, fresh corn on the cob, check. Cute heirloom pinto beans, I’ve got that covered. Your greenery of choice (or whatever is in your fridge): baby spinach. I added oomph to the original dressing by mirroring the bacon marinade, throwing in smoked paprika and chili powder. Lime juice makes this a bright dressing."

Thanks at Ana, Pam and Janet for joining in this week! If you have a soup, salad or sandwich that you would like to share, just click on the Souper Sundays logo on the side bar for all of the details.

Have a healthy, happy week!


  1. janet @ the taste spaceSeptember 2, 2012 at 6:11 PM

    I love how you subbed avocado for the cheese.. great idea! Thanks again for a lovely round-up. :)

  2. Cudos on the avocados, too. I can't wait for chili weather here.

  3. Joanne (eats well with others)September 3, 2012 at 12:39 AM

    I've been craving chili actually even though we are nowhere near fall yet temperature-wise! I'm loving the sound of this AND how you vegified it!

  4. Looks great topped with creamy avocado. I've been craving chili, but it's too hot to make it!

  5. Beautiful! I love how you tailored it to your own tastes and lifestyle.


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