cayenne

chunky beef and bean chili

Ugh this weather.

chunky beef and bean chili | Brooklyn Homemaker

Hot. Cold. Hot. Cold. Sunshine. Snowfall. Short sleeves. Heavy coats.

I know that I’ve whined about New York’s weird weather before, last week in fact, but oh lord is it annoying. I’ve lived in New York State for my entire existence so I suppose I should be used to it by now, but I’m not okay?
Every spring I get the itch to get outdoors and when that shady bitch Mother Nature dangles 70 degree temperatures in front of my face and a few days later tosses a little snow storm my way I start to get cranky.

chunky beef and bean chili | Brooklyn Homemaker

After last week’s unusual heatwave, we had snow over the weekend.

My first instinct was to stand in the window shaking my first (There may have also been a few “why I oughta”s thrown in), but I got tired (and cold) after a while so I decided to take my pity party into the kitchen and see what I could do to make myself feel better.

chunky beef and bean chili | Brooklyn Homemaker

Full disclosure:
I’ve posted this recipe, or at least a version of it, before.

This is one of my absolute favorite cold weather recipes and I’ve made it countless times since I first posted it. Since then I’ve made some changes to streamline some steps and make a few little improvements.

chunky beef and bean chili | Brooklyn Homemaker

Another moment of full disclosure:
I like my chili with big chunks of meat, a bit like a stew, rather than ground beef.
I also like lots of beans in my chili.

I realize my Texas friends are probably rolling their eyes and/or recoiling in horror right about now, but I’m a Northeasterner through and through. This is not “Texas Chili” and I make no qualms about this being an “authentic” recipe.

This is just how I like it. It’s freaking delicious. So deal with it.

chunky beef and bean chili | Brooklyn Homemaker

There’s a very good reason that I wanted to try this chili again and re-post the recipe for you. A while back I read an article on thekitchn that said a great way to ensure tender slow cooked meat in stew is to wait a bit before adding acidic ingredients like wine or tomatoes. While acidic ingredients can help tenderize meats in marinades, they can have the opposite effect and actually prevent or prolong tenderizing in braised dishes. Instead, they suggest that you make your stew (or chili in this case) without the acid, let the meat loosen up and get a head start on tenderization, and then add your acidic ingredients and continue to cook just long enough that they no longer taste “raw”.

I said before that I’ve made this recipe countless times with countless variations, but as soon as I read this tip I just had to try it with my chili. I gave it a go and was floored by how well it came out so I HAD to share the results with y’all.

chunky beef and bean chili | Brooklyn Homemaker

Okay one last bit of full disclosure:
I’m a big fan of heat and bold flavors so I tend to go a little overboard with the jalapeños, cayenne, and chili powder.

In the recipe below, the ingredients listed have ranges for those three ingredients. When making this for myself I used the maximum amount of spice listed on all three counts and I thought it was absolutely perfect. Russell however, complained (multiple times) that it was too spicy and said that I should reduce the heat for y’all.
So, if you like the heat feel free to go crazy and use the full amounts listed below. If you like things on the milder side, use caution and stick to the minimums. If you’re somewhere in between, stay somewhere in between.

When it comes to the meat, I usually like to buy a small chuck roast and cut it up into chunks myself. I find that A) this method is cheaper, and B) I know exactly what cut of meat I’m getting rather than the “grab bag” of leftovers they package as stew meat at the grocery store. I also find that the stew meat at my local grocery stores is usually cut too large to actually eat in one bite, and I always need to cut it up smaller myself anyway.

chunky beef and bean chili | Brooklyn Homemaker

Either way you go, this chili is insanely good. Thick and rich and tomatoey with a great flavor and as much heat as you like. Fall-apart tender chunks of beef mixed with hearty veggies and plenty of beans make this chili feel incredibly hearty and filling. Perfect for a chilly spring day.

If you do go a little overboard with the spice, a heaping dollop of sour cream, a handful of grated cheddar, and some rich and creamy sliced avocado can go a long way to tame that heat.

chunky beef and bean chili | Brooklyn Homemaker

adapted from my own recipe

2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 pounds beef chuck or beef stew meat, cut into 1″ cubes
2 tablespoons masa corn flour (or all-purpose)
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse Kosher salt (maybe more as necessary)
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper (maybe more as necessary)
1/4 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (depending on how spicy you like it)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 1/4 cup good Ale or dark beer, divided
2 medium onions, chopped
2 red bell peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 to 2 jalapenos, seeded and finely diced (depending on how spicy you like it)
5 to 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped or crushed
3 cups beef stock
28 oz  can crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup tomato paste
15 oz can red kidney beans
15 oz can black beans

Optional garnishes:
grated cheddar cheese
sour cream
torn cilantro leaves
sliced avocado

If using pre-cut stew meat, you may need to cut it smaller to get 1″ pieces. Toss beef in salt, pepper, cayenne, cumin, chili powder, & masa to evenly coat.
In a large heavy bottom dutch oven or stockpot, heat about 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Brown the meat in batches for 5 to 6 minutes, turning each piece about half way through to brown multiple sides. Do not overcrowd the pan or the meat will steam, not brown. Transfer browned beef to a bowl to rest while you brown the next batch, and repeat until all meat is browned. Add more oil between batches if necessary.

Once you’ve removed the last batch of meat, deglaze the pan with about 1/4 cup of the beer. Scrape up any stuck bits off the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Reduce beer to almost dry. Add another tablespoon of oil and, once the oil is hot, sauté the onions for a minute or two. Add bell peppers, jalapeños, and garlic and cook 3 to 4 minutes more. Add beef stock, remaining beer, and browned beef cubes to the pan and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer for one and a half hours, stirring occasionally. Uncover and simmer for one half hour more. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and beans. Continue to simmer uncovered for at least 30 minutes more or until the beef is fork tender and the liquid is slightly reduced and nicely thickened.
Taste and re-season with salt and pepper if necessary. If the chili is too thin, continue to simmer uncovered until it’s thick enough. If too thick, thin it out with additional beef stock, about 1/4 cup at a time.

Garnish with grated cheese, sour cream, torn cilantro leaves, and/or avocado. Serve with warm cornbread if desired.

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creole red jambalaya with chicken, shrimp, & andouille

Last Saturday when I got home from work I started making dinner.

creole red jambalaya with chicken, shrimp, & andouille | Brooklyn Homemaker

I cut up some broccoli, crisped up some bacon, made a béchamel, boiled some noodles, and grated a heaping pile of aged Irish cheddar. After mixing all the ingredients for my homemade macaroni & cheese together I turned the oven on to preheat while I melted a little butter for my bread crumb topping.

With the weighty casserole ready to go into the oven to bubble and crisp, I reached down to open the oven door. That’s when I noticed it wasn’t hot.
Panic.

creole red jambalaya with chicken, shrimp, & andouille | Brooklyn Homemaker

Though you wouldn’t know if from the number of baked goods I turn out of my kitchen, I have been having trouble with my oven for over a year. I won’t get into all the specifics, but it basically starts to preheat but will turn off before coming to temperature. After months of dealing with it I finally figured out that if I switched on the range it would trick the oven to turning back on and I’d be in business.
That is, until the night that I had a big dish of macaroni and cheese waiting to bake. No amount of trickery or tinkering could induce my ancient apartment oven to turn on.

A broken oven. My worst nightmare.
I wanted to cry.

creole red jambalaya with chicken, shrimp, & andouille | Brooklyn Homemaker

I wrapped the macaroni and cheese up and put it into the refrigerator, crossing my fingers that it would miraculously work again the next day. Nope.

Of course my landlord is dragging feet his feet about getting it fixed too. Doesn’t he know who I am?

creole red jambalaya with chicken, shrimp, & andouille | Brooklyn Homemaker

A few days later we finally got a repair man in to take a look. After less than five minutes of tinkering he blithely says, “Oh it’s just a blown fuse.”
I had just enough time to breath a sigh of relief before he continued, “Of course I don’t have one with me, and it’s out of stock. We’ll have to order it. We’ll call you in a few days.”
Way to toy with my fragile emotions Mr. Evil Repair Man. After he left I microwaved a bowl of never-baked macaroni and cheese and cried into it.

Another day passed before I heard back from them, and just my luck, this tiny stupid fuse is backordered from the manufacturer and they don’t know when it’ll be back in stock. What are the chances?
When it’s my oven we’re talking about? 100%.

creole red jambalaya with chicken, shrimp, & andouille | Brooklyn Homemaker

I could use this as an opportunity to make no-bake recipes and experiment with any number of savory stove top recipes. But, of course in the absence of my oven, all I want to do is bake. I even want to bake things I would normally do on the stove top! I’m suddenly overwhelmed by cravings for baked eggs, roasted chicken, twice baked potatoes, roasted cauliflower. My urge to bake cookies, usually strong enough already, is suddenly all consuming. I’m overcome with worry that I won’t be able to participate in this month’s #bundtbakers, which is fast approaching.

Wallowing rather than overcoming, I can’t think of a single thing that I could share here that wouldn’t require a functional oven. Forget the fact that at least half or more of the recipes I’ve posted up until now haven’t.

creole red jambalaya with chicken, shrimp, & andouille | Brooklyn Homemaker

Then, one morning I wake up and suddenly I NEED to make jambalaya. I consult my favorite recipe to make a few tweaks. I consult other recipes to see what else could be improved on. Oddly enough, I discover a few recipes that call for the jambalaya to be assembled on the stovetop and finished in the oven! WHAT?!?! WHY!?!!?! Okay, forget that. Back to the original stovetop recipe I was looking at.

creole red jambalaya with chicken, shrimp, & andouille | Brooklyn Homemaker

My recipe hunt turned up so many different variations on jambalaya that I decided to turn to Wikipedia for some clarification. As it turns out, there are actually three distinct varieties of jambalaya, depending on the regions they come from and the ingredients used.

The style I made is called a red Creole jambalaya, or a city Creole jambalaya. This is the most common style, and the main difference between this and other varieties is the use of tomatoes. The less common rural Creole jambalaya is almost identical but uses no tomatoes in the recipe. The third, and even less common variety is the Cajun or “white” jambalaya, in which the rice is cooked in broth separately from the meat and vegetables and combined just before serving.

Most people believe Creole red jambalaya was created as a way to make Spanish Paella without using saffron which was very hard to come by at the time. Tomatoes were added in place of the saffron for flavor, but eventually the other two styles came about without the tomatoes.

creole red jambalaya with chicken, shrimp, & andouille | Brooklyn Homemaker

The house smells completely heavenly while this bubbles away on the stovetop (and not in the oven), and the flavor could not be more amazing. Tender rice, perfectly cooked shrimp, soft cooked vegetables, and andouille with a nice bit of bite. The fresh herbs, crushed tomatoes, and spices combine to make one of the most flavorful dishes I’ve had in a good long time. Using smoked paprika really makes a difference to impart a nice smoky depth to the dish and the cayenne adds a welcome bit of heat.

Depending on how spicy you like things, the heat level can definitely be adjusted to your taste. I like mine quite spicy so I used the full teaspoon of cayenne. One teaspoon might not sound like much, but a little goes a long way and gave this big pot of jambalaya some serious heat. Feel free to scale it back to 1/2 or even 1/4 teaspoon if you can’t take the heat, but I beg you not to skip it altogether or you’re not doing it right!

creole red jambalaya with chicken, shrimp, & andouille | Brooklyn Homemaker

Creole Red Jambalaya with Chicken, Shrimp, & Andouille

  • Servings: about 8 to 10
  • Print
adapted from Spoon Fork Bacon for the Fix

1 tablespoon olive oil (or bacon grease, if you have it, will add a bit of welcome smokiness)
12 to 16 oz. Andouille sausage, thinly sliced
1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into small bite sized cubes
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 to 3 ribs of celery, diced (about 1/2 cup)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups of corn kernels (fresh is best but frozen is fine)
2 cups long grain rice
2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
1 tablespoon thyme, minced
2 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1/4 to 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (to your taste)
2 teaspoons cumin
1 (15 oz) can, crushed tomatoes
3 cups chicken stock
1 lb. shrimp, cleaned peeled and deveined

garnish:
fresh thyme, parsley, or green onion

Preheat 1 tablespoon of oil or grease in a heavy stockpot or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown andouille for about 5 minutes, remove from oven, leaving grease, and set aside.
Add chicken thighs, season with salt and pepper, and cook about 5 minutes. They don’t need to be cooked through, just have a bit of color on them. Remove and set aside with sausage
Add onions, bell peppers, and celery and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes or until onions barely begin to look translucent.  Season with salt and pepper. Stir in garlic and corn and continue to sauté for 2 minutes more.
Add rice, herbs and spices and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper.
Stir in crushed tomatoes, stock, chicken thighs, and sausage. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer and cover. Cook for about 15 to 20 minutes or until cooked about 2/3 of the way, then add shrimp by gently pressing shrimp slightly into the mixture. DO NOT STIR while rice is cooking.
Cover again and continue to simmer for 7 to 10 minutes or until rice is cooked through and the liquid has evaporated.
Gently toss jambalaya together to incorporate shrimp and fluff the rice. Top with chopped parsley or sliced green onion, and serve.