Ranch Chili for a Crowd
From Cook's Country
Ranch chili recipes, which should ideally result in chunks of rich pork and stewed beans with Southwestern spices, often come out to a disappointing bowl of tough meat and mushy beans. And the spicing is either as bland as can be or four-alarm fiery. We wanted tender meat and firm beans enlivened with a judicious blend of spices. To achieve this, we skipped the tenderloin most ranch chili recipes recommend and went with well-marbled, inexpensive Boston Butt. We browned the meat for rich flavor and stewed it long enough to make it fork tender. Bacon added smoky, porky flavor. To conclude our Ranch Chili recipe, we kept the spices simple and classic: chili powder, cumin, oregano, and lots of garlic.
Makes about 4 quarts, serving 8 to 12
For spicier chili, boost the heat with a pinch of cayenne or a dash of hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco. This chili tastes even better when made a day in advance. If you plan to serve it the next day, don't add the beans unitl you have reheated the chili--this will keep them nice and firm. Good choices for condiments include diced fresh tomatoes, lime wedges, diced avocado, sliced scallions, chopped red onion, chopped cilantro leaves, sour cream, and shredded Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese. If you try to brown four batches of the meat in the same pan, the drippings will burn. We recommended that you brown the extra meat (in two batches) in a separate skillet.
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