Recipe: Brisket Chili
This week’s recipe is from Berkshire-based duo The Butcher & The Baker. The Butcher is Jake, a nose-to-tail butcher/artist, who loves to cook and grew up in the woody hills of Western Massachusetts where his passion for local, fresh food was first instilled in him. The Baker is Silka, a designer/crafter who loves to bake and grew up in rural Western New York where her parents are candlestick makers. Together they spend most of their time talking about, shopping for, making, and eating food. By sourcing locally and sustainably, and spending time with the producers of their food, they’ve learned that every meal tells a story.
Now is the season when we find ourselves hosting large groups of people to celebrate light and to keep each other warm during these cold New England days. You can only eat turkey or ham so many times during this holiday period, so we wanted to figure out something a little different for one of our upcoming holiday get-togethers. We have been toying around with the idea of the perfect chili for a while now, and there is no simpler and better way to feed a hungry crown craving “down home” cooking than chili.
Of course, depending on where you live and what your heritage is, there are a thousand different variations and rules on this classic American dish. Beans or no beans? Pork or beef? Do you use a whole muscle or ground meat? What cut? And then, what kind of chiles do you use? Researching a “classic” chili doesn’t answer many questions as much as it just asks more. And so we stewed (get it!?) on these questions happily, experimenting and tasting along the way. It’s a hard job, but someone has to do it. At long last, we decided: beans on the side; beef; whole muscle; brisket, ancho and chipotle chiles.
We grabbed a gorgeous and fatty brisket out of the freezer at the North Plain Farm store. We always have Cayuga Pure Organics black turtle beans, homemade beef stock, a few ancho chiles, and a can of chipotle chile peppers in our pantry, so that wasn’t an issue. On a Sunday afternoon, Jake put the brisket in the oven, the beans on the stovetop, and let everything simmer away. Meanwhile, Silka made some skillet cornbread to soak up the smokey, spicy sauce.
In the end we couldn’t have been happier with the results… ALL of them.
4 tablespoons of lard or bacon drippings
1 whole beef brisket, with lots of fat (roughly 6 lbs.)
2 medium onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
3 teaspoons sweet smoked paprika
3 teaspoons cumin
4 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, plus 2 tablespoons of adobo sauce
4 dried ancho chiles
6 oz. of Tazo bittersweet chocolate
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cans of whole plum tomatoes
1 quart of beef stock
1 24-oz. bottle of Big Elm IPA
Bring the brisket out of the fridge at least one hour prior to cooking so it comes to room temperature. At the same time, soak the dried chiles in hot water for about ½ hour.
1. Pat the brisket dry and coat with salt. (We used smoked salt - if you can find it, we recommend it!). Preheat the oven to 250.
2. Heat the lard in a large dutch oven over high heat.
3. When the lard starts to smoke, brown the brisket for 3 minutes on each side. Set brisket aside.
4. Add the onion and garlic to the pan, cooking until softened.
5. Add the paprika, cumin, tomato paste, adobo sauce and chiles, cooking for an additional minute.
5. Return the brisket to the pan along with tomatoes, stock, and beer. Bring to a boil and cover.
6. Place in the oven for 6 hours, removing the lid for the final 1½ hours of cooking.
7. After you have removed the brisket from the oven, take the brisket out of its sauce, place in a deep dish and let rest.
8. With an immersion blender, or in a food processor or blender, puree the sauce remaining in the dutch over and reduce for about ½ hour.
9. Serve brisket with the chili sauce poured on top, beans and cornbread on the side.