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Verses from my Kitchen: The Fall of Summer

September 22, 2010

The Fall of Summer

It's official! Today is the first day of fall and that opens up and shifts the possibilities for meals and recipes and flavour finds. It also starts the first day of what is arguably my favourite season. The cooler temperatures promote so many wonderful memories, from the obvious colour transformations to the foods and ingredients that are now in abundance and in season.

Today is a new beginning. A chance to hide away and store your recipes created this summer and open up a new page and put the pen to paper. The beginning of new experiments, flavours and recipes that will hopefully be part of my book for years to come. One day in the future, I hope, i'll be able to open it up and start cooking and remember just when this recipe was created for the first time.

My food line-up will be filled with soups, stews, layered pastas and hot beverages. On any given day i'll be making meals that warm the bodies and the soul.  It's a new food prescription. As the nights get shorter and the darkness fills the canvas i'll be lost in the kitchen and then, with my wife, we'll be lost at the table as we dine together. Our favourite comfort foods come out after three seasons of hiding and with them come lifelong memories and fond favourites. With them arrives a new happiness. A new beginning.

To get us ready for fall i'm including my favourite chili recipe from The Ultimate chef himself, Tyler Florence. I've made this recipe countless times before and it never fails! Enjoy!

Beef Chili

Serves: 6-8

3 tbsp. olive oil
3 pounds beef shoulder, cut into large cubes
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
2 tbsp. ancho chili powder
1 tbsp. ground coriander
1 tbsp. ground cumin
1 tbsp. sweet paprika
1 tbsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 onions, diced
10 garlic cloves, halved
3 canned chipotle peppers, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1 tsp. sugar
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 can whole tomatoes, crushed by hand
1/2 cup masa harina
3 cups shredded white Cheddar, garnish
2 bunches chopped chives, garnish
1 1/2 cups sour cream, garnish

The Prep:
1.In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil. Season the beef shoulder all over with salt and pepper, add it to the pot and brown it. As it's browning stir in the chili powder, coriander, cumin, paprika, oregano and cinnamon.
2. Lower the temperature under the meat to "toast" the spices. In a food processor puree the onions, garlic, chipotle peppers, jalapeno, tomato paste and sugar and add it to the pot. Increase the heat to medium to steam vegetables a little and sweeten the peppers. Add enough water to cover by 1 inch, about 1 quart, and add tomatoes with their liquid. Bring to a boil and skim off any foam that rises to the surface.
3. Reduce the heat and simmer until the meat is fork-tender and comes apart with no resistance, about 2 hours. As it cooks down, add more water, if necessary. When done, stir in the masa harina. Take a potato masher and mash the chili so the meat comes apart in shreds. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
4. Garnish each serving with the shredded Cheddar, chives, and sour cream.


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