Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Chili Primitivo - BETA, Danger!

I was looking for a "primitive" chili recipe to post after my "presidential chili" recipe post. From my understanding, this ought to be a marinated beef recipe - no beans, no tomatoes. Oddly enough, though, that's not the recipe I found. My touchstone for historical cooking, Around the American Table, has the earliest recipe for chili posted int the 1800's...with beans. Beans have apparently always been a part of the equation. Go figure.

But I still wanted a meat-only version. And I found it. Hoo boy, did I find it.

The source is an odd, but strangely reliable, one - Leaves from the Inn of the Last Home. This oddity is a collection of herbalism, astrology, back history, and other pieces of color for Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman's epic fantasy series for D&D, Dragonlance. The recipes for "Krynn" have always been of a far better quality than I have the right to expect, and I'll be posting more of them in the future.

This chili recipe, however, is called "fireball chili". And a few things about it make no sense to me. I intend to make it myself next week to test it out, but I'm eating it alone... and I have yet to see if I can make it work. So I'm letting you, gentle reader, review the recipe and see if you can make it work before then. I'll post my tasting notes after I'm done.

What I suspect this recipe actually is is a beef version of carnitas - a New Mexican shredded pork recipe. I worry that lean beef won't produce the liquid that the recipe demands. If I'm right, I'll try it with pork... if I'm sufficiently brave.

You have been warned...

Chili Primitivo

1 pound beef stew meat
2 tablespoons flour
2 T rendered beef fat or bacon grease (canola oil might be an adequate substitute)
1 t Worcestershire sauce
2 T paprika
1 bottle(!) Tabasco (I'm presuming this is a small bottle, but that's the only measure given in the recipe...)
1/2 t Chinese hot oil
2 t crushed red pepper

Mix all spices thoroughly.(Wash your hands immediately thereafter...) Marinate beef for 24 hours in spices; you may marinate as long as 48 if needed. Place beef in pot or dutch oven over low head and slow-cook for 2 hours, stirring occasionally to keep meat from sticking.

After 2 hours, heat bacon grease over medium heat in a small pan. Add flour and stir constantly until a light toast color develops and the roux smells of toasted bread, 5-7 minutes. Skim 1 cup of liquid from the beef (If, as I suspect, you don't have the liquid, try using chicken broth or water). Add liquid to roux; scrape the pan and whisk frequently until thickened and any "flour" flavor has dissipated (keep beer on hand if you're using liquid rendered from the pot as you taste!). Add sauce to beef and stir thoroughly, shredding the beef in the process. Serve with lime wedges, sour cream, tortillas, and anything else you can think of to kill the pain.

Serves 2-4 masochists.

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