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Fat Tuesday Chili

Serves 4-6

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INGREDIENTS
  • 2 1/2 to 3 pounds beef chuck, trimmed and cut into bite-sized cubes 
  • Salt and pepper 
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons canola oil 
  • 5 tablespoons butter 
  • 2 tablespoons Gebhardt chili powder or Ancho chili powder
  • 1 rounded tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper 
  • 1 large onion, chopped 
  • 2 green bell peppers, chopped 
  • 2 to 3 ribs celery, chopped 
  • 6 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 large fresh bay leaf 
  • 3 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons flour 
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce 
  • 1 bottle pale ale, at room temp
  • 3 cups chicken stock 
  • 1 15-ounce can red beans, drained 
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • Scallions, thinly sliced on an angle 
  • Tabasco sauce, to pass at table
  • “Cheese-It” snack crackers, crushed, for topping  
PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 325°F.
Bring meat to room temperature and pat dry. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat oil, a turn of the pan, in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown the meat in batches to avoid overcrowding the pot. Remove browned beef to a platter.
Add butter to the drippings in pan and reduce heat to medium. Add in all the dried spices and stir 1-2 minutes to toast them. Add onions, bell peppers, celery, garlic, salt, pepper, bay and thyme; cook partially covered to soften, 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add flour and stir to cook it out a bit then add Worcestershire and beer. Let beer reduce by half then add stock, beans, tomatoes and browned beef. Bring chili to a low boil then cover and place in oven for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until meat is very tender. Chili can also be kept at low simmer on stove top partially covered but be sure to stir it occasionally to prevent scorching.
Top the chili with scallions, a few dashes of Tabasco and cheese crackers, and serve.  

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