short rib BOEUF BOURGUIGNON chili // un ragoût TEX-MEXICAIN
Last weekend, I took part in my first ever chili cook-off. My first cooking competition ever, really. Garrett's the big chili maker between the two of us, but I quickly commandeered the process as soon as my wheels started turning in the direction of frenchifying the thing. This didn't start as a boeuf bourguignon fusion project, and, in fact, I've never tried to make boeuf bourguignon, so I had no frame of reference for the dish besides a general understanding that it was beef braised in alcohol. It was only after the fact that I realized by adding Tex-Mex ingredients to red wine braised beef we had concocted something Tex-Mexicaine.
So before I tell you more, let's start with a few honest confessions. First, the chili took second place. Tied for second place. As an excuse, the winning chili was a really well done, but traditional recipe and I think when the masses speak, they speak for tradition. Second, if you've never braised you ought to know it takes hours, so this is by no means your everyday chili. But if you take it to your next chili cook-off and get good results, please, let me know. Third, and again, if you've never braised before, prepare for the fat. You can really remove quite a bit of the fat at the end of the cooking process, but you're going to be dealing with a lot of it. And it's going to be delicious, as a result.
Back to the flavor, because despite those confessions I think this recipe is awesome and worth the effort. The base flavor is smoky, and it would be worth it to go to a good butcher to get thick cut smoked bacon (in other words, avoid the packaged bacon at the grocery store). In the next layer the red wine comes through, so make sure to use a French pinot noir (this does not need to be an expensive bottle, but does need to be French). Finally, right in at the top you get the Mexican ingredients - the poblano, jalapeño, and spices. Of course, the end result is rich with all that smoky winey-ness, so top it with freshly chopped onions and some cheese, but no need for sour cream.
If you have the time, patience, and wherewithal, give it a try and tell me what you think.