Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Cooking with Wine

Today's episode is brought to you by the Texas Board of Tourism. In case you haven't heard, Texas and its various boards, commissions, cowboys, and people who love big hair paid a whole 10 gallon hat of money to have Top Chef film in its various locales. Now, me personally, I don't see anything wrong with that. What I can't understand is why they didn't pay any money to keep Most Eligible Dallas from airing. Such a boneheaded decision really has me question their supposed supremacy in things like "living" or "modern cities" or "producing good football teams".

Chili is revered by Texans like Ted Hall who once threatened to kill me if I ever included beans in a bowl of Texas Red. Pinto beans always make me think of some stagecoach cook shutting up a guy named Slim with a scoop from a dutch oven. Couple this with bottle of zinfandel from Mad Max that had me thinking of something spicy and tomato strewn and the stage was set to make a chili that would send a Texan running to the Alamo. I used torn, dried chiles to bring not just heat, but a fragrant fruitiness to the party. Some kale chips (wash, dry, olive oil, salt 300 degree oven for 20 minutes) were the crowning jewel on a mockery fiercer than any Tony Romo joke.

All of this got along very well with the 2009 Saldo Zinfandel released by Orin-Swift wines made under the stewardship of owner/winemaker Dave Phinney. Zinfandel is a wine that wants something robust and brash, and making fun of Texas sure is. The wine retails for around $28 and you can find it at Sylvain, Whole Foods, Iris, Commander's Palace, K-Paul's, Wine Seller, and Maximos.

Messed With Texas Red

Soak 1 pound of pinto beans overnight or while at work. In a Dutch oven, saute over medium heat one whole onion diced with two or three jalapenos diced fine. While that melts, de-stem and de-seed one dried ancho chili and cut into roughly one inch squares. Add these to the pot, and cook for a minute or so. The heat will soften them. Now add in a tablespoon of chopped garlic along with a teaspoon of cumin, a hearty pinch of oregano, and a teaspoon of chili powder. Stir so the spices can absorb some of the oil.

After a minute or so, add a tablespoon of tomato paste. Stir. Let cook for about 2 minutes (doing so deepens the flavor). Deglaze with half a bottle of beer and a 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar. Once the beer has mostly evaporated, add in a 28 ounce can of whole tomatoes and their juice. Using the back of a spoon mash the tomatoes. Drain beans from soaking water and add to the pot along with a quart of water. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer and cook uncovered until beans are tender and the sauce is thick..

Crown with queso blanco, parsley, the kale chips, and a dig at Mack Brown's coaching prowess. 


Wilson said...

For a deeper flavor and an appropriate touch of Texanness, use a full bottle of either Shiner Bock or the Black or Oktoberfest, if you can get those. I also add arbol chiles for extra heat, and don't forget smoked paprika for some smoky flavor. Top with cilantro and more onions and jalapenos. Serve while watching the Texas A & M Aggies blow a second half lead against a soon to be SEC division rival.

Matt said...

Beans = Not Texas Chili