Roasted PoblanosRoasted poblanos from a chili I once posted, which you will need in Jeb’s recipe.

Jeb Lund (Mobute) –  Contributor to Sports on EarthThe ClassicalDeadspinEsquireGQThe New RepublicSBNationThe Awl and Vice. Cooks and eats.

Jeb Lund’s “Is Lorde Problematic?” Chili 

Ingredients

6 de Arbol peppers (remove seeds from all peppers here and listed below)
4 dried ancho peppers
2 poblano peppers
4 other peppers, whatever strikes your fancy heat-and-colorwise (I used two hungarian wax and two anaheims)
2 medium yellow onions, diced
5 hefty garlic cloves (pressed)
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1.5 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar, though you may want more
20 oz cans of beef and chicken broth to your level of simmering comfort (probably 2 cans, maybe 3)
2 15-oz cans of diced tomatoes
2 cans white kidney beans
couple bay leaves
8 oz strong coffee
1 can Guinness
1 slug of soy sauce
1 tablespoon white balsamic or red wine or apple cider vinegar
1-2 lbs cheap beef, cubed (blade steak, shoulder round, rump, chuck roast, round-eye roast)
1 lb Italian sausage (mild or hot, depends on your heat preferences)
4 strips bacon

Reserve peppers to up the heat after the simmering process (handful of jalapeños or one or two habañeros work)

Preparation

Preheat your oven to 300º and put a dutch oven in there, spraying a bit of Pam on the bottom depending on whether it’s non-stick or not. Seed and chop any of your chili peppers that haven’t already been dried/toasted, then throw them in there for 10-15 minutes. You don’t want them to smoke, but people swear by roasting the skin slightly, so that’s what I do.

Turn off the oven, take your chiles and put them in a food processor—THE CUISINART, BABY—or blender with your other peppers, whatever they are, the oregano, cumin, brown sugar and a generous shake or two of salt. Now blend or ‘Nart those fuckers until they’re ground the fuck down. Add about half a cup of broth to the mixture to create a paste, blending and ‘Narting away. Now glop all that shit out into a bowl.

Chop your goddamn onions. Don’t put them in the Cuisinart, because you will wind up with half-chopped onions and half-pasted onion glop.

Take your dutch oven and put it on the stove, heat to medium-high, and add 2 strips of bacon. Cook until crisp. Remove bacon and let dry. Rub your beef cubes with salt, but don’t overdo it. Sprinkle lightly on the cubes, enough to put some flavor on them. Add the beef cubes to the delicious, delicious bacon grease. Sear the beef on all sides, or at least enough for texture. Remove, put in bowl.

Put your other two strips of bacon in the pot and cook until crisp. Remove. Reduce heat to medium, add your onions and wait for about ten minutes. You want to stir them around, but basically you’re going to half-ass caramelizing those fuckers. If you’re worried about running out of grease, you can always add butter. When your onions look about done, press your garlic cloves in there and cook for a couple minutes.

Optional: Deglaze the bottom of the dutch oven with a slug of bourbon.

When the onions and garlic look cooked enough, add your chile paste, boxes of tomatoes, bay leaves, and a can or two of broth. Add your beef cubes. Is the beef covered enough, with enough broth that you’re not going to be all paranoid about burning anything? Yes? Good. Just do that, whatever that amount is. Take your four bacon strips and pulverize them in your hands and make it rain bacon into the pot. Cover and simmer.

Check every 30 minutes or so to see how your liquid, salt and beef tenderness levels are doing. Don’t salt to taste; you’re only going to cook this broth down, so err on the side of under-salting. But DO add a slug of soy sauce. When the beef seems like it’s about 30 minutes away from being fork-tender (about 90 minutes of cooking, ideally), it’s time to add other ingredients.

First, check your heat level. Are you missing some kick? Go ahead and add any reserve peppers you might have bought. Couple jalapeños or a habañero. ‘Nart those bastards.

Next, take your Italian sausage and slit it down the side and squeeze the contents into a saucepan. You’re going to heat the sausages in their own pan until you’ve completely cooked them. Why? Because Italian sausage is full of gross-ass fat that is going to play havoc with your gross ass. Break up the sausage into bite-sized niblets after you’ve slightly seared the outside all the way around. When everything’s fully cooked, turn the burner off, then tilt the saucepan and push the sausage upward with a spatula to let the GROSS ORANGE GREASE collect at the bottom of the pan. Dab it up with wads of paper towel. THROW THE TOWELS AWAY.

Add Italian sausage, cans of beans, cup of coffee and Guinness to your chili. And here you might as well uncover and keep simmering, because you are going to have an excess of liquid, and this is going to let you cook everything down while commingling the flavors and softening up the beef more and cooking down any remaining gristle in your snausages. Wait 15 minutes or so after everything comes back to a simmer and give it a taste to make sure you’re on the right track. If it’s not tomato-y enough, or you don’t have the patience to wait through a long cook-down process, you can cheat and squeeze out some turdlets of tomato paste from that tube that I know you keep in the door of the fridge. DON’T LIE, IT ONLY MAKES US PITY YOU.

When you’re just about ready to serve, throw in your tablespoon of vinegar. A lot of the acids you’ve been using are going to cook out a bit (especially if you’ve used a pressure cooker), and so the vinegar provides a boost of sour to compliment the sweet, spicy, salty and meaty you’ve already got.

Commentary:

If things are too spicy, you have a couple of options. You can add more brown sugar. Or, if you want, add heavy cream about a tablespoon at a time. It mellows things out and adds a nice texture to the chili broth, but a little goes a long way. Be patient when adding it. Of course, you can skip that if you’re someone who likes adding sour cream and cheese as a garnish.

A Note on the Peppers:

My local grocery rotates the kinds of peppers it has, and it doesn’t always have the freshest options, so I never really make this the same way, mixing different peppers every time. Now, some people don’t like combining things like Anaheims and Hungarian Wax, etc., with traditional “anchos” because it gets away from the “bowl of red” look, especially if you start with a lot of poblanos instead of the dried ancho, giving you a big green bowl. The thing is, the two cans of tomatoes and the Guinness and coffee will be such an overriding force on the color palette that you’re going to get a rich chocolatey brown regardless of your pepper input. No one will know. Screw around.

A Note on the Coffee and Guinness:

Some people also swear that these two, especially together, can be very bittering if added two soon. I haven’t personally noticed that to a degree beyond a satisfying background flavor, but if you’re concerned at all about that, wait to add them as late as possible in the cooking-down process.

A Note on Time:

There is no shame in just telling “cubed” beef and its 90-minute cook time to fuck off and cooking a pound of ground beef instead. In fact, I prefer this. Just cook it the same way you cook the Italian sausage above: in a separate saucepan, where you can blot up the excess fat and reduce the likelihood of your booty turning into a human blunderbuss later. Just cook all four bacon strips (and remove them) and saute your onions and garlic, then add the cooked meats, the tomato and your chili paste and do everything else pretty much the same.