There’s always been some confusion regarding the various spellings of chili, er… I mean chile. After consulting various resources, the majority suggest that chile is the pepper and chili is the dish. But then there’s chile verde and chile Colorado, both dishes that end with an e, not i. I really don’t care how it’s spelled as long as it tastes good.
I’m guessing that most folks don’t know what to do with those earthy dried red peppers they see hanging on the racks in the Hispanic section of the local market. Here’s the deal — pull the stems off, scrape out the seeds, soak them in hot water for 30 minutes, and process them in a blender or food processor. It’s the “red” in red chile and red enchilada sauce. The recipe specifies New Mexico dried chiles, but any large dried red chile will suffice.
This chile screams Southwestern flavor. Not in a bad, mouth-on-fire sort of way, but in a, “Wow, now that’s one incredible chile (or chili)” way. You can’t get this depth of flavor out of a can.
- 6-8 New Mexico dried chiles, washed and stems removed
- 2 pounds venison stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 Anaheim peppers, chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 1 28-ounce can tomatoes, diced
- 2 7-ounce cans whole mild green chiles (Anaheim or "Ortega" type), chopped
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano leaves
- 2 cups beef broth
- salt and pepper
- flour tortillas, warm
- shredded cheese
- shredded lettuce
- Place chiles in a small saucepan with 2½ cups water. Bring to a boil, remove from heat and steep chiles for 30 minutes. Place softened chiles and about ½ cup of the liquid in a food processor or blender. Process until smooth, adding additional liquid if necessary to puree. Pass mixture through a strainer to remove seeds and any bits of skin.
- Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add meat and brown evenly. Add onions, peppers and garlic, and cook until onions are translucent.
- Add tomatoes, canned chiles, oregano, beef broth and processed chiles. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 2 hours or until meat is tender. While cooking, make sure that there is always enough liquid to barely cover meat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- To serve, ladle chile into bowls, and serve with warm flour tortillas, cheese, salsa and chopped onions on the side. Guests can spoon chile onto tortillas and add desired toppings.