YOU Magazine - June 2012 - Father's Day ChiliIt Sure Beats Giving Him an Ugly Tie
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Father's Day Chili
It Sure Beats Giving Him an Ugly Tie

Father's Day ChiliIt Sure Beats Giving Him an Ugly Tie

In last month's Mother's Day article, I shared some great recipes for creating a Mother's Day spa lunch. This month, it's Dad's turn. If you are at all worried about what to do for your dad on Sunday, June 17th, fret not. He's probably easy to please, especially when you keep in mind the 3 C's–couch, cold drink, and chili!

Dads are some hard working folk. When we're not working to pay the bills, we are working on, in or around the house. Our jobs are many, but none is more important than protecting the health, happiness and welfare of our families. We provide an example of strength and integrity to those we love, and just like the moms out there, when it comes to our families and our home our job is never ending.

All this considered, don't you think dad deserves a day that he can do whatever he wants? I sure do. The good news is that dads are simple creatures. I'm a dad, so I mean that in the best of ways. For the most part we don't require pampering of any sort, or even a gift for that matter. If we had the ability to pick what we'd want to do on Father's Day, my guess is that the majority of us would say, "Nothing...I want to do nothing!"

So, here's the deal. Whatever the dad in your life does in order to relax, make it happen for him on Father's Day. If he likes golf, schedule him a morning round. Or, if he just wants to sit in front of the television, simply let him do it uninterrupted. Trust me when I tell you to not over think this. Keep it within his definition of fun and relaxing and you're good to go.

As far as the food on Father's Day is concerned, the same theory applies. Most dads love to eat food that is both tasty and hearty, yet at the same time recognizable. That's why this Father's Day I have elected to share my chili recipe with you. It's a fairly simple dish to make, but it requires a little love in order to get it right.

There are ten million ways to make chili so stating that any one version is the best is nearly impossible. What I will say about mine, however, is that it's really darn good. In addition, it adheres to the principles of authentic chili making. I use cubed chuck roast instead of ground meat, and I make my own chili powder as opposed to buying what's in the spice aisle at the grocery store. I do like beans in my chili, but I refuse to use anything from a can, opting instead for the dried version.

If you've guessed that it's going to take a few hours to make the chili I'm about to put forth, you'd be right. But you're going to have to believe me when I say it will be well worth it. Here we go.

Father's Day Chili (serves 10 to 12)

  • 3 to 3.5 lbs. chuck roast, trimmed of visible fat and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 large onions, chopped small
  • 10 cloves garlic, minced
  • 7 jalapeno chilies, seeded and chopped small
  • 28-oz. can chopped tomatoes (with juice)
  • 1 lb. dried black beans
  • 1/2 C chili powder (recipe for homemade chili powder follows)
  • 2 C beef broth
  • 12-oz. beer
  • 1 C brewed coffee
  • 1.5 C water
  • 2 tbsp red or white wine vinegar
  • Canola oil
  • Kosher salt freshly ground black pepper

Homemade Chili Powder

  • 4-oz. dried chilies, such as guajillo, ancho, New Mexico, etc.
  • 1.5 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or more if a hotter chili powder is desired)

Soak the dried beans the night before you plan on making your chili. Simply empty the beans into a large pot and add enough water to cover the beans by several inches. Cover the pot and allow it to sit overnight.

The chili powder can also be made the night before. Start by removing the stems from the dried chilies and emptying out the seeds. Place chilies on a cookie sheet and roast in a 350-degree oven for 10 minutes, or until they darken by several shades.

Allow the chilies to cool. Break them up into pieces and place them in the work bowl of a food processor. Process the chilies until they resemble a coarse powder.

In a bowl, combine 5 tablespoons of the ground chilies along with the remainder of the chili powder ingredients. Mix well and set aside.

In a large pot, heat 3 or 4 tablespoons of oil until hot and shimmering. Season the meat with salt and pepper and (working in batches) brown the cubed meat. Reserve the browned meat in a bowl. Add more oil to the pot in between batches if necessary.

Add 3 more tablespoons of oil to the pot and allow it to get hot. Add the onions, garlic, and chilies. Season with salt and pepper and sauté for 5 minutes or until the vegetables soften.

Add the reserved meat (along with any accumulated juices) and the chili powder to the pot. Mix well and cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, broth, beer, coffee, water and vinegar to the pot and season with salt and pepper. Mix well and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook (partially covered) for 1.5 to 2 hours, or until the mixture reduces and thickens, and the meat shreds with a fork.

Meanwhile, drain the beans that have been soaking overnight. Return the beans to their pot and add 6 to 8 cups of fresh water that has been heated in a kettle. Bring the beans to a boil and immediately reduce to a gentle simmer. Cook for 1.5 hours (partially covered) or until the beans are tender.

Drain the beans and add them to the chili. Allow the chili to cook for an additional 5 minutes. Taste the chili and re-season with salt and pepper if necessary. Serve in bowls along with your choice of toppings.

You can't eat a bowl of chili without something to sop it up. How about a little skillet corn bread?

Skillet Corn Bread

  • 2 C yellow cornmeal
  • 1.5 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 C whole milk buttermilk
  • 1 C cream corn (canned or homemade)
  • 3 tbsp bacon drippings

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. When the oven is at full temperature, place a 10-inch cast iron skillet inside.

Meanwhile, in a bowl combine cornmeal, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Mix well using a fork.

In a larger bowl, combine eggs, buttermilk, and creamed corn. Mix well.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Using a wooden spoon, mix together until incorporated, but don't over-mix (roughly 20 stirs). There should still be some lumps in the batter.

Remove the cast iron pan from the oven and add the bacon drippings. Swirl the pan to make sure the drippings fully cover the bottom of the pan. Pour in the cornbread batter and return the pan to the oven. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread can be removed clean. Allow cornbread to sit for a minute or so before serving.

Dad's going to need something to drink with his chili and cornbread. I'm thinking a scratch margarita may be in order.

Scratch Margarita

  • 2 oz. of high quality silver tequila
  • 1 oz. of Grand Marnier or other high quality orange liqueur
  • 2 oz. of fresh squeezed limejuice
  • Simple syrup to taste (recipe follows)
  • Kosher salt
  • Lime wedges

Put tequila, Grand Marnier, limejuice and simple syrup in a shaker with ice. Shake well and strain into a short glass that has been rimmed with salt and filled with ice. Garnish with a lime wedge and serve.

To make the simple syrup, combine equal parts water and sugar in a small saucepot. Boil the mixture for a few minutes or until it becomes syrupy. Allow it to cool completely before use.

The details for a great day are set. All that's left is to wish dad a happy Father's Day and serve him up a delicious bowl of chili, a big slice of cornbread, and an icy margarita. Tell him how much you appreciate all he does and then, tell him to kick up his feet because Father's Day is his official day off.

Happy Father's Day!

Kirk Leins has been cooking his entire life. No stranger to professional kitchens, he currently devotes most of his time to cooking instruction, food writing, and producing television. Kirk also provides his services as a personal chef in and around the Los Angeles area. He has made several TV appearances on both the national and local level, and is the Executive Chef for YOU Magazine. Sign up for Kirk's free newsletter and cooking blog at

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