Monday, October 29, 2007

Chili Por J.I. Gardner

With cooler weather approaching, this authentic Southwestern chili from the First Edition of the Arizona Cook Book is my favorite and has received may compliments over the years. The cook book is a little pamphlet with 350 authentic Arizona recipes from several pioneer sources in Arizona such as the Navajo Tribal Museum, Senator Goldwater, Arizona Beef Industry Council, Rosarita Mexican Foods, Sunkist Growers, Inc., and, in the case of this recipe, a Mr. J. I. Gardner. The pure meat blend that has been cooked until it fell apart and is very tender along with the chili gravy sauce are served with many sides such as red beans, rice, spaghetti (For any Cincinnati Style Lovers), grated cheese, chopped onions, fresh chili peppers, and bread or tortillas so everyone can customize their chili serving. Notice that there are no beans or tomatoes included in this recipe. It also freezes well.

2 pounds Beef Chuck
2 pounds Elk, Moose or Venison (If no game is available, I just use about 3 pounds Beef Chuck and 3 pounds of Pork Shoulder for the meat portion of the recipe.)
2 pounds Pork Shoulder
1 large Onion
6 medium Cloves Garlic
6 Red Chilis (dried)
6 Ancho Chilis (dried)
1 tablespoon Oregano
1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
1 teaspoon Black Pepper
Salt to taste.

Trim all fat, gristle and bone from meat and cut into 3/4 inch cubes. Cut all usable fat into small cubes and render until fat is brown. Lift out rendered fat pieces, discard them, and save the grease for frying the cubed meat. Saute the meat until it has just left the red stage. (Do not over-fry.)

Wash all dried chili pods, and remove stems and seeds. Soak chilis in boiling hot water (Initially) for 20 to 30 minutes. Then, pour some water from the reconstituted chilis into a blender and add the chilis a few at a time. Blend until creamy then pour contents of the blender back into the rest of the liquid used to reconstitute the dried chilis.

Peel the onion and garlic cloves. Cut into small pieces and put into blender with enough oil to start onion and garlic to blend. Blend until creamy. Place in a fry pan and saute on medium high heat until lemon colored (3 to 5 minutes).

Put all ingredients in a pot large enough to hold them, plus 6 to 8 cups of hot water. Bring the contents of the pot to a boil and immediately reduce the heat to simmer and cook until the meat falls apart and is tender (2 or 3 hours) . Add water if needed to keep the meat covered as it simmers.

Skim off any excess oil on the surface and thicken with a thickening of flour or corn starch to the desired consistency. (A little goes a long way.)

To add more "bite" you can add a small amount of cayenne or other hot chili. Be very careful about the amount you add; you want a zippy taste, not a burn. Lately, I don't add any more chili pepper most of the time. Instead, I like to serve fresh, canned, and/or pickled chopped chilis and a choice of chili sauces as sides for guests to suit their own taste preferences. As I mentioned, this freezes well, and one night of making chili can produce several very tasty winter meals of Chili Por J. I. Gardner.


1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

dad- drew will love this. his dad actually hunts for elk in Montana each year. I will try to make it since it's your favorite. love you.