When the Irish started making Guinness, I doubt they thought of the culinary possiblities. I’m one of those people that eshews hoppy beer (as in most American beers these days) and prefers a heavy, full bodied ale or stout (a good pilsner is fine on occasion). To me, Guinness is perfect. It’s satisfying and versatile. I can drink it but also make something good with it. You know, like chili.
There are so many recipes out there for chili that it’s hard to pick just one. I have a couple recipes myself that I make during the winter months. I have one recipe that doesn’t take much time to put together. But then I have this recipe that takes hours of cooking. You can make this in the crockpot… just brown the meat first and transfer it to the crockpot. Bring it up to temperature on high and then reduce it to low and let it simmer all day (4-5 hours).
As with all chili recipes, the flavor is better the next day because it has time to mellow and develop, but don’t let that stop you from eating it the same day you cook it. It’ll still be delicious.
It should be noted this recipe passed the taste test with my son, who is 10 and very picky. Serve this on a rainy weekend. It’ll lift everyone’s spirits.
Ground chilis note: I like to use whole dried chilis and whole cumin seed and grind it to a powder in a coffee grinder before I use it in the recipe. You can find ground ancho powder and ground cumin in the spice section of the grocery store and that will be fine. If you want a bolder chili spice, try to find the whole chilis and grind them up yourself.
Marinate the beef:
In a bowl, combine 1 bottle of the beer, 1 teaspoon of the ground ancho, 1 clove garlic, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, and the cubed beef. Marinate under refrigeration for at least 2 hours. This can be done overnight if desired.
Make the chili:
In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, heat the canola oil over medium heat. Remove the beef from the marinade; discard the marinade. Add the beef to the hot oil and brown on all sides. Add the remaining 2 cloves garlic and diced onion. Saute until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add the ground spices; season with salt and pepper. Saute for 1-2 minutes. Pour in the beer and the tomatoes. Stir in the chocolate and brown sugar. Bring up to a boil and reduce heat to medium low. Cover and simmer for 4-5 hours or until the beef is very tender and beginning to fall apart. Stir occasionally. Season to taste with spices, salt, and pepper.
Serve with shredded cheddar and sour cream.
*I use grass fed beef. Why? Well, cows are meant to eat grass, not corn. Plus, I would rather have beef from cattle that has not been pumped full of antibiotics. We typically do not eat a lot of beef, so when we do, it makes sense to choose wisely.
Below: Whole chilis. To grind them up: remove stem and seeds, tear into small pieces. Place in a coffee grinder and pulse until powdery fine.
Lentils: Pantry Gems by Marcy Gaston