“Now that there is some real meaty soup”
As the weather gets cooler, soup sales get hotter in all my restaurants.
Some argue that chili is not a soup… they can say what they will, but for the sake of the argument, I am classifying it as a soup for this post.
Café 222 has had the same version of Chili Con Carne on the menu for the past twenty-some years and there would be a real riot if I even considered changing the recipe or taking it off the menu and replacing it with another soup. I always run a second soup during the cooler months at the Café but chili outsells any other selection two to one, so why mess with it, right?
When I opened my beloved ACME Southern Kitchen in 2012, I worked for months on a real “Texas” style chili recipe that would be different from the recipe at the Café and yet be equally delicious and popular. What I ended up with not only was equally delicious, it was in fact more delicious (in my opinion) than my Café version. Still, when I tried to run it on the menu at the Café, there was a great big stink. Rest assured my dear Cafe regulars… I swiftly switched it back to the same original recipe chocked full of black beans and corn.
But hey, if you want to try my ACME Southern Kitchen Chili, we run it October through January down at Bake Sale Bakery. This chili has so many layers of flavor. It gets its heat from a combination of fresh chiles and bell peppers, canned chipotles, and dried chile powders. The flavor profile is raised to the next level with the addition of strong black coffee, the stronger the better, and it’s finished off with peanut butter (yes, peanut butter) and then thickened with Masa flour.
Don’t be intimidated by the length of the ingredient list, it is all done in three “dumps,” (that’s Texas cook-speak, ha ha) or three steps once the dicing and slicing is done.
You can omit the peanut butter if you have an allergy, but otherwise don’t you dare. It seems silly, but it does change the flavor profile… don’t worry you won’t be able to pick the taste out of the lineup, it just adds a smooth, nutty layer to the dish.
ACME Southern Kitchen Chili
AKA: The best damn Chili
1 lb Ground Pork
2 lbs Ground Chicken
2 lbs Ground Beef
2 med Onions Chopped
¼ Cup minced Garlic
1 Red Bell Pepper Chopped (seeded)
1 Green Bell Pepper Chopped (seeded)
1 Jalapeno Pepper Chopped (seeded)
1 Serrano Chile Chopped (seeded)
1 Pasilla Chile Chopped (seeded)
Cook first batch of ingredients until meat is cooked, but not browned.
Add 2 quarts beef stock. Cook for 1 hour, until meat is crumbly.
3 TBS Onion Powder
1 TBS Garlic Powder
2 TBS Dry Chicken Base
3 TBS Paprika
3 TBS Dark Chili Powder
2 TBS Cayenne
1 TBS Black Pepper
4 TBS Cumin
1 TBS White Pepper
1 Sm. Can Tomato Paste
8 oz Catsup
2 oz Canned Chipolte Peppers (pureed)
1 CUP Brewed Strong Black Coffee
½ CUP Peanut Butter (optional)
Cook ½ hour more, taste and season as necessary.
Thicken with slurry made with ½ cup Masa flour and ¾
cup water. Allow to slightly bubble for 5 minutes.
Garnish with chopped green onions, a dollop of sour cream, cilantro, crumbled tortilla chips, diced fresh jalapeno… any of your favorite chili toppings.