Not being a Texan, this is not a bean and tomato free recipe faithful to the historical dried beef and chili powder composition. It produces a bit under 4 liters of finished Chili. The process begins by going to a supermercado, or several smaller retailers which will not quite have all of the necessary ingredients:
- ~3/4 of a kilogram "Carne Picada Especial"1 which is the most common term for lean ground beef down here. There are many other ground beefs available here, but the lean one is desirable for reasons described in the cooking instructions.
- Yellow onion. Your standard eye watering fountain of flavor, not the bland sweet kind which may incidentally be merchandised where the real onions go.
- One big green bell pepper "Mórron Verde", ubiquitous here and far cheaper than red bell peppers. During the winter season red bell pepper prices climb above that of the ground beef.
- One whole head of garlic or a similar number of peeled garlic cloves. A packaged container of already peeled cloves will contain ~2 heads of garlic worth of cloves.
- 1 can cubed tomatoes
- 1 liter box of tomato concentrate sin azucar, if you don't already have one in your fridge. Only a bit will be used.
- Chilis - Finding fresh chilis of any sort in Uruguay during winter is a trivial proposition. The locals are incredibly averse to any picante in their food most immigrants to Uruguay come from cultures that rightly enjoy flavor in their food. The Tienda Inglesa in Montevideo Shopping however manages to almost reliably carry fresh "Catalans Picante" prepackaged in their produce section. These are an excellent choice. In a pinch a wider though still disappointing variety of canned chili peppers usually hides in the Olive aisle of most supermercados.
- 2 cans of beans. One of these cans should be Red Kidney beans.2 The other can may be used for experimentation. I've come to enjoy broad beans sold locally as "frijoles manteca" for the second can.
Having gathered the ingredients, it is time to cut. Taking your ceramic knife made in Brasil3 you chop. Finely dice the entire head of garlic, then cut the other vegetables into reasonably small pieces. Cut vegetables go into the cooking vessel of at least 4 liters capacity. Salt the cut vegetables in the pot after each addition. If your chili are of the canned sort, open the can to discern whether the need to be cut or not. If yes, cut the canned chilis. If not set the can to the side. Do not add the canned chilis to the cookpot at this time. If you had the great fortune of fresh chilis, they should already be in the pot with the other vegetables.
Salt the vegetables one last time. Put a bit of olive oil in the pot and toss the veg until coated.
Take your beef, shape it into a giant disk and put it in the pot over the vegetables. Salt and pepper the top of the beef.
Prepare to malliard. Look at the adequate electric stove in the kitchen. Take the pot to the balcony and instead place it on the camp stove you acquired to ensure the availability of hot coffee in the event Argentina messes up the continental grid again.
One the stove4 is blasting the pot with a blue fireball, wait a couple of minutes with the pot covered before breaking up the beef puck and stiring. If you used "catalans picates" you will enjoy the most wonderful aroma when removing the pot's lid. If you are using something else, it will still smell good.
After all the beef is well browned, its time to reduce the flame and start adding stuff. Drain the beans and add everything from the cans to the pot. Add two intact dry bay leaves from the jar the girl brought because she loves you, add a splash of the tomato concentrate, stir, and simmer.
Grab some reading material and spend the next 1.5 to 2 hours simmering with the occasional stir and tasting. If it lacks something, add it. Powdered "Pimienta 'hot'" is a safe bet, but mundane pimienta dulce is also a possibility. At some point no less than 1.5 hours after simmering began a tasting will reveal the chili is ready. Serve. Some common garnishes available include chives, crackers, a wide variety of cheeses, and sour cream sold locally as Queso Crema Talercrem.
- Some places will call this "Carne Picada Super" [↩]
- This is why the recipe specs canned beans. For the survival of their species, plants that make beans don't want to see their beans eated and so they burned the beans with toxins. Some beans more than other, but red kidney beans are especially notorious on this front. Safely preparing dry red kidney beans is a bit of a pain and time consuming. [↩]
- Pointedly not made in Argentina [↩]
- The pictured item uses 190 gram puncture type butane cartridges held securely in the base of the stove. The cartrides run ~3 USD which makes then the marginally less expensive alternative to 220 gram "aerosol" type cartridges. Valved camping butane cartridges have limited availability here and cost ~15 USD. After ~4 or 5 hours of use making a few pots of chili, I have yet to change the cartridge. [↩]