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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Spicy Chili Mac

Spicy Chili Mac |
The Tao of Chili Making
Chili will have a list of ingredients so long that it makes your head spin. It can't be helped. 
Don't even try making a small batch of Chili. It is impossible.
No matter how hard you try, two batches of Chili will never turn out the same. 

Learn it. Practice it. Embrace it. Hey, you can't make this stuff up. Except I totally did. But that doesn't make it any less true.

I mean it when I say embrace it, though - I've never met a (giant) pot of chili that I didn't like. From mild to fire-breathing, from shredded beef to ground chicken, from 15-bean to no-bean, from green to white to red...I like 'em all.

Spicy Chili Mac |
But today I'm mixing things up a little and not sharing just a delicious bowl of chili (which it is in its own right), but a delicious bowl of chili MAC. If you've never had it before, it's just as it sounds - a bowl of chili that has macaroni mixed in.  An awesome bowl of comfort food that throws  you right back into your childhood. Right?

Wrong! I did not learn of the glories of Chili Mac until I was in college. I can only blame my parents. Why did they never make up chili mac? But anyway, Brenda, one of my college roomates made chili one day and poured it over a bowl of cooked macaroni. I was all like "what are you doing!?" Her return look was of the "wtf" are you talking about variety.
Spicy Chili Mac |
I thought it was absolutely the weirdest thing I'd ever seen (and I'd seen some pretty strange things), but she told me that she grew up eating it that way. So I tried it. I've never made a pot of chili since that I haven't eaten at least one bowl of with some macaroni mixed in. Mind you, it's always a slightly different chili than the one before it, but...

Now, grab a gallon of milk because this shiznit is spicy, I'll dish it up!

Spicy Chili Mac
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Spicy Chili Mac |
by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Keywords: simmer sugar-free nut-free soy-free beef beans chiles pasta American

Ingredients (serves 10-12)
  • 2 pounds ground chuck
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 large bell peppers (any color), stemmed, seeded, diced
  • 1 large Poblano chile, stemmed, seeded, diced
  • 2 red jalapeño chiles, stemmed & minced
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 tablespoons Chipotle Chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon Masa Harina
  • 1 tablespoon Smoked Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15.5 ounce) can pinto beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 (15.5 ounce) can red beans, drained & rinsed
  • 12 ounces amber beer
  • 3 cups beef broth or stock
  • 12 ounces large elbow macaroni (uncooked)
to serve:
  • sour cream
  • shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • scallions, thinly sliced
Brown the ground chuck in a large pot, crumbling as it cooks, until done, 8-10 minutes. Drain watery grease and put the meat back into the pot over medium heat. Add olive oil, onion, bell pepper, both chiles, and garlic. Cook, stirring from time to time, until the veggies begin to soften, ~5 minutes.

Add all of the spices (and the masa harina) to the pot and stir constantly for 1-2 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juices and the rinsed beans, stir everything around until mixed well.

Pour in the beer and the broth, then turn up the heat until it comes to a boil. Turn heat down to a low simmer, then let it gently bubble away for 30 minutes. It will thicken and reduce a bit in this time.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook until just al dente (err on the side of undercooked, as it will continue to cook a bit when mixed with the chili...and nobody likes soggy macaroni). Drain and set aside until chili is done.

After 30 minutes, turn off the heat, add the drained macaroni to the chili pot and stir to combine.

Serve in bowls topped with as much sour cream, cheese, and scallions as you like!

This chili can be used stand-alone (without the macaroni), as well.

I use the whole 2 tablespoons of chipotle chile powder when making this, and it is HELLA-hot! Grab yourself a gallon of milk to drink alongside, or a few cold beers, or just pile on the sour cream. Or, you know, add less chile powder.
Spicy Chili Mac |