It is raining buckets here in NY today. So I’ve shut myself in and I want to warm myself with a nice bowl of hearty chili. Sometimes I like to make a Texas chili and sometimes I prefer a Cincinnati chili. But my best friend David loves it when I make a Cuban Picadillo. When I make it for him, we serve it over rice with a side of black beans and fried sweet plantains. Since I’m on this dies, lets add the beans to the pot to make a chili and hold the rice and plantains, maybe we’ll sprinkle it with some graded cheese instead.
1 medium or ½ of one large sweet onion
1 green bell pepper
4 cloves garlic
1 1/2 lbs ground beef
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon ground cilantro
½ teaspoon thyme
2 bay leaves
½ teaspoon ancho chili
4-5 plum tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
½ cup water
1 can black beans, preferably Cuban style
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
salt and pepper
Finely chop the onion, green pepper and garlic. In a large pot, heat a tiny bit of olive oil on medium high. Sautee the chopped veggies until soft. Add in the ground beef and spices and stir to break up the meat into fine piece. Brown the meat. While the meat is cooking chop the tomatoes. Add the tomatoes and water to the pot and sir. Cover the pot and simmer on medium heat for about 20 minutes. Once the chili is reduced and thick add in the black beans. Cover and cook for another 5 minutes. Season with the sugar, salt and pepper to taste.
Watching Jamie Oliver’s new TV show inspired this dish. Strangely, the recipe for his beef, cheese and Guinness pie was never posted on the Food Network, so I have to improvise. This is the perfect food for a cold winter night.
Beef Pot Pie
2 sweet onions, sliced in thin rounds
4 large cloves of garlic, minced
3 carrots, finely diced
3 ribs of celery, finely diced
3 packages of sliced baby Portobello mushrooms
3-5 sprigs of thyme
3 bay leaves
2 lbs brisket, cut into bit size pieces
1 carbon beef stock
1-2 cups old red wine
2 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper
1 lb grated cheddar cheese
1 sheet puff pastry
Frozen organic sweet peas
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil on medium high in a heavy bottom large stockpot or Dutch oven. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until they turn soft and start to brown. Add the carrots and celery and sauté them for about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and spices and continue to cook. Season the veggies with salt and pepper. Add the beef, wine and stock and cover the pot with the lid. Cook on medium, stirring occasionally for several hours until most of the liquid is evaporated. Cool over night in the oven so that the flavors bloom.
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Heat the pot of beef back on the stove to a low boil. Mix in a small hang full of cheese, reserving the majority of the cheese. Fill a glass-baking dish with the beef mixture, covering the top with the majority of the cheese. Cover the dish with the puff pastry and back in the oven till the pastry is golden brown and puffy.
Cool the pie on the stovetop while you heat the peas in a small saucepan with a sprinkle of salt. Serve a chunk of the beef and pastry with a good hearty serving of peas.
Its finally cold here in New York and for some reason I now want to eat hot and spicy foods. It doesn’t hurt if they are slow cooked and rich in flavor either.
Finely chop one medium to large sweet white onion. Throw that into a large pot with a few drizzles of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt. Sautee the onion on medium. Finely chop one large red pepper and several cloves of garlic. Add both to the pot with the onions and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, till everything is clear and cooked down. Be careful not to burn or brown the veggies. Once the veggies are fully cooked and soft, add in two pounds of ground beef. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder, lots of cumin and a bit of cinnamon, cloves and all spice. Stir and break up the meat. Once the meat has totally broken apart, add in one small can of tomato sauce and one medium can of chopped tomatoes. Add in two bay leaves, a dash of sugar and about a half a cup of water and cook on medium till the chili mixture cooks down and turns a much richer deep brown.
Once you have you filling, it is time to make the tacos. With a beef filling I like to fill my tortillas with chopped romaine lettuce, some fresh tomato salsa, avocado, cheddar cheese and some sort of hot sauce. I really like chipotles.