Saturday, June 16, 2012

Capsaicin Corner: Part 1

Let's cut to the chase - I realized I'm not half the glutton I could be until I eat something I prepared from the very beginning of its existence. Ideally, I would raise a cow, and then eat it in one sitting. Unfortunately, my backyard (and local zoning regulations) keep this from being a possibility (FOR NOW), and I'm limited to something I never thought I'd do... gardening.

I know. 

Time to make this worth it. What could a fat knight possibly grow that would be worthy of gluttonous praise, while enhancing the deliciousness of my regular dietary regimen? 

Hungarian Blacks
Boom. Hot peppers. So, I now have a pretty kickass collection of capsaicin creatures in my backyard. I'm growing your standard peppers, of course, and some less standard options, such as the Little Nubian and the Hungarian Black, but the real prize of my collection is the world's (former) hottest pepper: The Bhut Jolokia. The Ghost Chili.

One problem, folks... The Bhut Jolokia is EFFING HOT. I decided I need to build up a gradual tolerance by the time I am able to pick peppers from that bad boy. I bought an assortment of hot peppers from the local Mega-Grocer (Jungle Jim's is the greatest place on earth. Look it up. Go there.), which I planned on eating raw in ascending heat order. I ate one a day for a little bit, but then I got a call from a couple friends who wanted to help me on my journey. Fellow spice-addicts Tyler and Steve decided it was Chili Night.

I drove down to Tyler's apartment with my bag of peppers. He had already started the chili in the slow-cooker. We added to what he already had in the Spicy Texas Chili recipe the contents of my pepper bag. Here's the recipe we used (admittedly, Tyler did most of the work on this one):

Chili Bread Bowl VOLCANO!


  • 2 1/2 pounds beef chuck, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 4.5-ounce cans chopped green chiles, drained
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 cup chili powder
  • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes with chiles
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons green hot sauce
  • Sliced scallions, fresh cilantro and/or sour cream, for topping
  • Tortilla chips, for serving (optional)


Toss the beef with 1 tablespoon each brown sugar and salt in a large bowl. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the beef in batches until browned on all sides, 4 to 5 minutes (do not crowd the pan). Transfer to a 5-to-6-quart slow cooker.
Reduce the heat to medium, add the onion to the skillet and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, chiles, cumin and chili powder and cook 3 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups water and the tomatoes andsimmer, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom, about 3 minutes. Transfer to the slow cooker, cover and cook on low, 7 hours.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon brown sugar and the hot sauce to the chili. Serve with scallions, cilantro and/or sour cream for topping, and chips, if desired. (Reserve 3 to 4 cups for Chili-Corn Casserole.).
Per serving: Calories 482; Fat 29 g (Saturated 11 g); Cholesterol 117 mg; Sodium 1,227 mg; Carbohydrate 11 g; Fiber 0 g; Protein 36 g

The only real difference is... we added a billion extra peppers... and served it in a bread bowl. To make the bread bowls, buy the little round loaves of sourdough from the grocer, cut a circle in each from the top with your bread knife, and the chunk should just pull right out. Might require minor wiggling.
My reaction to Chili Bread Bowl Volcano.

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