" City Slickers" Mad-Cowboy Chili

This chili is probably just like Grandma used to make. That is, if your Grandma was an old man named "Cookie" who prepared meals for grizzled cowboys on Old West cattle drives!

Ingredients

  • 2 oz. dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 cups dark beer
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 lbs. ground turkey, chicken, or meat substitute
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 2-3 small jalapeno chile peppers, seeded, and minced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 2 tablespoons each: ground cumin and coriander seeds
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tablespoons ancho chili powder
  • 3 tablespoons New Mexico chili powder
  • 2 cups freshly-shucked corn
  • 1-28 oz. can crushed tomatoes (with juice)
  • 1-6 oz. can roasted chiles, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon canned chipotle chiles
  • 1 1/2 cups each: cooked black beans, pinto beans, and kidney beans
  • 2 cups water or vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons masa harina or cornmeal
  • salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 ten-gallon hat

Directions:

1. Combine the dried mushrooms and beer; bring to a boil and remove from heat. When cool enough to handle, chop mushrooms, return to the beer and set aside.

2. Place a large cast iron skillet over a small campfire (or a medium-high heat) until hot, but not smoking. Add the oil and lightly brown the poultry or meat substitute. Brown in two batches to avoid overcrowding the skillet. Transfer to a large Dutch oven or heavy casserole.

3. Reduce the heat under the skillet to medium and add the celery, onion, jalapeno, garlic, and bell pepper. Sautee for 2 minutes, stirring often.

4. Add the cumin, coriander, oregano, sage, bay leaf, and chili powder; stirring well to coat the onion mixture with the spices. Continue cooking the spice mixture for another minute, stirring frequently to avoid scorching.

5. Add the corn, crushed tomatoes, and roasted and chipotle chiles to the spice mixture. Stir well with a wooden spoon, scraping the bottom and sides to loosen any tasty bits stuck to the skillet. Transfer contents of the skillet to the Dutch oven and place over medium-high heat. Add the beans, beer and vegetable stock, stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours. If desired, thicken the chili by stirring in 2 tablespoons of the cornmeal or masa harina.

6. After dinner, herd your guests into the kitchen and let them choose between doing the dishes or getting branded. Yee haw!



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