BeerQuestABV: Reuse your unwanted beer with this chili recipe

Everyone has their own tastes when it comes to beer. Some people really like IPAs. Some are stout folks. There are also the folks out there who prefer drinking what I like to refer to as the "Pauper of beers."
The thing is, what does one do with beer they don't appreciate? I can't count on both hands the number of times I've been given or purchased beer I didn't really enjoy. Thankfully, there are many great ways to use the stuff up. This is just one of the ways I hope to highlight in the future.
First of all, I hope Lindsay over at Love Beer Love Food doesn't think I'm biting her style. You should check out her food and beer writing, which she does on a much more regular basis than myself. I look at this as a way for people to use up beer they might not like, repurposing it into something that has a wider appeal. The thought of having to pour out beer just makes me sad.
Today I'm writing about a dish that appeals to most of us Americans: chili. The stew-slash-soup meal that sticks to ribs and fuels food comas usually calls for a beer anyway, whether it's mixed in, or served on the side.
The red chili I make is mostly Texas-style, with a little Midwest thrown in (And even a touch of Cincinnati-esque spice). It's easy to make on the stovetop or in a slow cooker, so little effort is needed.
A few things I don't plan to present, as I don't claim to know readers' kitchen skills or appetites, are prep time or serving size. What I do know is this dish is simple, so don't sweat the details. If something isn't chopped evenly, or measurements aren't accurate, it doesn't really matter. Things can always be balanced out in the end.
BeerQuest ABV's Red Chili
Beer. Any kind will do. I usually use one 12-ounce bottle, but more can be added to thin the chili. Make sure you have a beer you DO like to enjoy while cooking.
  • 1-1/2 lb beef chuck roast, extra fat removed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 lb ground beef (This will be drained, but the leaner the better)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, diced finely
  • 2 jalapeños, split in half and sliced in to half moons (Remove seeds and pulp to reduce spice if desired)
  • 1 lb okra, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces (This helps thicken the chili. If you don't like okra, there are other methods to thicken)
  • 1 28oz can of crushed tomatoes (Used diced if you prefer things chunky)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup chili powder (get a blend at Colonel De Herbs and Spices )
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder (Or a couple of squares of super dark chocolate)
  • salt and pepper, of course
For serving:
  • Chopped green onions
  • Sour cream
  • Tortilla chips
  • Cheese
  • Fresh diced tomatoes
  • Pretty much anything you like
Process (For the stove top):
  1. Get a deep, heavy-bottomed pan with a lid (Nothing cast iron, however) to use. I have an enameled Lodge Logic Dutch oven I use for stuff like this. Heat up some cooking oil (I use Jungle Jim's extra virgin olive oil 95 percent of the time), and brown the ground beef until nearly all its moisture is released. Make sure to season with a pinch of salt during the browning. Try to get the pan hot enough so some of the beef actually gets brown and crispy in parts. Remove the ground beef, and drain on some paper towels.
  2. Add in the chuck (And more oil if needed) and brown until crispy on the edges as well. Season with a pinch of salt while browning. Transfer browned chuck to a plate or bowl.
  3. Add in onion, bell pepper and jalapeño, and season with a pinch of salt. Saute for 5 minutes or so, until vegetables begin to soften. Add in garlic and saute for another minute, until garlic is fragrant.
  4. Once you smell the garlic, return the meat to the pan and add oregano, chili powder, cinnamon and cocoa. Stir to combine, then add tomatoes and the beer. Add another pinch of salt and plenty of ground pepper, stir everything up, and bring to a boil. Once at a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Simmer for one hour, stirring every 10 minutes or so.
  5. After the hour is up, test one of the pieces of chuck from the chili. It should be fairly tender. If not, simmer some more until it gets to a comfortable level, then add in the okra and cumin, stirring to combine. Cover again and simmer another 15 minutes until okra is tender. Once the okra is tender, it's time to eat!
Serve with the toppings you like. I'm partial to a small dollop of sour cream and some fresh green onion, but the sky's the limit.
A few notes: since this is a long-simmered stew, it would be easy to substitute some of the fresh ingredients for frozen ones. Most local grocery stores sell frozen, pre-cut okra, onions and green peppers, which can help cut down on prep time. Also, to save even more time, this chili can be made in a slow cooker. Just brown the meat as before, then add all the diced items except
the okra in along with the spices, except the cumin. In the last hour of cooking, add in the okra and cumin.
Lastly, I intended this as a recipe to help people get rid of unwanted beer, but if you're hungry for chili, by all means make this with a beer you like! Depending on the beer, flavors and colors can change. For something really exciting, try using a smoked porter or stout. Let me know what you think about the recipe, and don't pour out beer you don't like!
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