for Heath, who suggested I post a chili recipe once the cold weather was here to stay
Alrighty, I know this recipe presupposes that you happen to have some smoked brisket hanging around. One day, I plan to have two smokers and a terrific contraption from Char-Broil called the Grill Top Infuser, but for now I just buy pre-made. I can dream.
But I want to suggest a couple of things to you. First of all, if you don’t want to bother with smoked brisket, you can just use a pound of ground beef. Browned, of course. The chili recipe is still a good one. But the other thing is that you go to your local barbecue restaurant (I suggest Sweet P’s or Dead End if you’re in Knoxville) and just buy some smoked brisket. Why? Because it makes a deeply satisfying chili that’s just a little different from the usual stuff. Plus, I’m southern and I’ll take any excuse to use BBQ in a recipe.
And, yes, you want to attempt the cornbread croutons. Here’s the thing. They’re very delicate because cornbread, as it wants to do, crumbles. So when you cut the cubes, you must delicately place them on a cookie sheet, drizzle them with melted butter and then just leave them alone. If you attempt to toss them, you will have cornbread crumbles. Which may be just fine, come to think of it.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup diced red onion
¾ cup diced red pepper
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 cups chopped smoked brisket
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
1 15-ounce can kidney beans
1 10-ounce can Rotel diced tomatoes with green chiles
½ square unsweetened baking chocolate*
2 tablespoons chili powder
½ teaspoons ancho chili powder
1 ½ teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat the vegetable oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat and add the onion and red pepper. Saute until the onions and peppers until they are translucent and beginning to turn brown. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute.
Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer over low heat for an hour.
*Note: The unsweetened chocolate doesn’t make the chili sweet. It just deepens the flavors. It’s a “umami” thing. Look it up.
Salt and pepper
Cut the cornbread into cubes. Spread on a cookie sheet and drizzle with melted butter. Season with salt, pepper and Cajun seasoning. Bake at 400 degrees until browned and crispy.