Lean, Mean Chili
- SERVINGS: 12
- 1 cup coarsely chopped sun-dried tomatoes (6 ounces)
- 3 1/2 cups boiling water
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 6 pounds lean sirloin, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 10 scallions, thinly sliced
- 6 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
- 3 large onions, diced
- 2 red bell peppers, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1/4 cup mild pure chile powder, such as ancho
- 1/4 cup medium-hot pure chile powder, such as pasilla
- One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1 large chipotle chile
- Lime wedges, for serving
- In a medium heatproof bowl, cover the sun-dried tomatoes with the boiling water and let soak until softened, about 20 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the tomatoes to a food processor and puree. Reserve the soaking liquid.
- In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the oil. Season the meat with salt and pepper. Working in batches, brown the meat on all sides in the oil over high heat, then transfer it to a large plate.
- Add 6 of the scallions, the garlic, onions, half of the red bell peppers and all of the green bell pepper to the casserole. Cook over moderate heat, stirring often, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the chile powders and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 4 minutes. Add the sun-dried tomato puree and the reserved soaking liquid, the meat, crushed tomatoes and chipotle chile and stir well.
- Bring the chili to a simmer, then cover partially and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until richly flavored, about 2 hours. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the chili to a serving bowl and discard the chipotle. Garnish with the remaining 4 scallions and remaining red bell pepper and lime wedges. Serve hot.
Look for a hearty, spicy California Zinfandel to stand up to the heat and smokiness of this intense, tomatoey chili.
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Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.