Well guys we got our one week of Fall didn’t we?! 😀
And that means it’s chili time in the south!
There is an ongoing joke in North Texas that we only get one week of Fall but I suspect this myth is derived from the fact that in Dallas, anything under 60 degrees is considered WINTER!
Get out your boots, your scarves, and a cup of horchata…
Cause Here Comes Chili Season Yall!
Dereck came home the other day to find me sipping coffee in the pantry, and doing inventory on our dried pepper collection. I hadn’t been to the chile market since I created my Cherry Mole Enchiladas, and the cold weather had me eager to fill the house with the aroma of charred peppers and fresh chili powder again.
I find this is the best time of year to inspect all our little fellas to make sure they are still raisiny-dried, not brittle or stale, that way you can make fresh chili anytime your heart desires (obviously anytime a new Hallmark Christmas movie premiers.) 😉
I figured you guys were starting to feel the chili urges as well so I whipped up this batch of Bison Chili with Mexican Cinnamon to really get us off to a tasty start this year.
This recipe lets me teach and showcase 3 ingredients I’m really passionate about… Ancho Puree, Texas Chili Powder, and Canela, or Mexican Cinnamon.
Here is a little bit about each one…
Ancho puree is easy enough to make once someone shows you how. All you have to do is place your dried peppers (about 4-5 is sufficient) in a bowl and cover with boiling hot water. Let it steep for 20 minutes or so. (You may have to weigh them down with a drinking glass as a weight because they tend to float!) The dried peppers will absorb water and reconstitute.
Then you’ll prepare a small food processor or blender. Remove only the flesh of the peppers, discarding the seeds and stems, and place in the blender or food processor. Add just enough of the pepper water to allow you to blend the pepper flesh into a smooth paste.
I always salt mine with a pinch of kosher salt and store in tupperware in the refrigerator. The puree lasts 7-10 days, or it can be frozen for 6 months.
Texas Chili Powder:
Texas chili powder is a blend of powdered dried chilis, garlic, mexican oregano, a dash of cumin, AND MAGIC! 😀
Texas chili powder has more ingredients than standard chile powders (which are simply dried ground chiles), and is always spelled with an “i”, not an “e” on the end.
If you’re going to go out of your way to order some don’t bother buying anything but Gebhardt’s or Mexene. Both of the recipes for these brands are over 100 years old, and in my opinion the flavor is perfection. In fact, when teaching cooking to other Texans, learning about these brands is often their favorite take-away! Though we all grow up using chili powder not everyone ventures outside of store brand…but when they do the flavor transforms their favorite recipes!
Mexican Cinnamon (Canela):
Come see the softer side of Cinnamon. 🙂
Mexican Cinnamon, also known as Ceylon Cinnamon or “Canela” in Mexican Supermarkets is a softer, vanilla-like cinnamon which lends itself to savory dishes like this bison chili. It’s aromatic fragrance contributes to a richer flavor profile and it pairs well in dishes like mole, and Mexican hot chocolate!