Friday, September 14, 2012

Cutting the mustard, red wine popcorn, bourbon chili

Grey Poupon Mustard launched a Facebook campaign that’s the talk of the internet. You must be screened to get in the Society of Good Taste. I made it with an 85 percentile ranking. My mom, a gourmet and gourmand who has a personal letter from Julia Child, did not “cut the mustard.” I know why. She’s new to Facebook and doesn’t have as many links that the program screened. She is invited to try again soon. This is a fun gimmick that shows a vintage crowd at the cinema as tidbits from your Facebook timeline flash up. The audience makes comments on your friends, their grammar and perhaps the foods you mention in your posts. Then you get your answer on if you can join in. You may not like your answer, but thousands upon thousands are asking the question. It’s fun. Look them up and apply for "Society of Good Taste."

Red Wine Popcorn

Pop Family, a new shop offering crazy flavors of sweet and savory popcorn, furnished some red wine popcorn for the September reception at Texas Artists Museum. I sat between Bill Windle and Gardner Clark and we talked about art. . . and this red wine popcorn. The word “addictive” kept coming up about these sweet gems of reddish-purple.

Maker’s Mark Chili

Feeling the fall in Southeast Texas could mean Frito Pie. If you want to get fancy with the chili this year, check out what Forth Worth chef Tim Love serves up at Lonesome Dove Western:

Bourbon Chili

Serves 4-6

2 pieces dried Ancho chilies

1 piece dried Pasilla chile

2 pieces dried Guajillo chilies

2 pieces dried Chipotle chilies

1 cup Maker’s Mark® Bourbon

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 pound. boneless beef short ribs

3 cups onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon Mexican oregano

½ teaspoon dried thyme

¼ cup dark brown sugar

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

½ cup masa harina, if desired

Salt and black pepper

Additional Maker’s Mark® Bourbon, if desired

1. Toast the chilies in a large, dry skillet over medium-low heat until lightly charred

and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

2. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil and pour over the chilies. Weight the chilies down

in the water and submerge with a paper towel. Allow the chilies to soften for

about 20 minutes in the hot water. Drain the chilies once they are soft, reserving

the soaking liquid. If you prefer your chili to be spicy, remove only the stem of

the chilies, leaving the seeds intact. If you prefer a milder chili, take the time to

open up the softened chili peppers and remove the seeds before adding the

peppers to the blender.

3. Add the softened chili peppers to the blender with 1 cup of Maker’s Mark®

Bourbon. Puree until smooth.

4. Heat a large skillet or Dutch oven over high heat. Pat the short ribs dry with a

paper towel and season them generously with salt and black pepper. Add the

tablespoon of oil to the hot pan. Reduce the heat to medium high. Sear the short

ribs on all sides until well browned, about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove the short

ribs to a plate and pour off the browning liquid and fat into a small bowl. Return

the pan to the heat.

5. Add the chopped onion and minced garlic to the skillet and cook until softened,

about 10 minutes, stirring often.

6. Add the cumin, oregano, thyme, brown sugar, vinegar, browning liquid, chili

water, and chili puree to the pot. Season with a heavy pinch of salt. Cover with a

tight fitting lid and simmer over low heat until the meat is very tender, about 3

hours, turning the ribs every 30 minutes and adding water as necessary if the

braise becomes too dry.

7. Once the short ribs can break apart with a spoon, remove the ribs from the stew

and break the short ribs apart into small chunks using two spoons or forks.

8. The chili braise in the pot should be the consistency of a thick soup, reduce over

low heat if necessary, or add more water to reach desired consistency. Skim any

excess fat and oil from the surface of the chili and discard. Stir the pieces of short

rib back into the chili braise. Add an extra splash of Maker’s Mark® Bourbon if

you want.

9. Thicken the stew with masa harina (fine cornmeal makes a great substitute) if you

desire: Ladle 2 cups of chili into a bowl and stir in the masa harina. Return the

mixture to the pot and stir in with the rest of the chili. Simmer for 15 minutes.

Serve the chili hot garnished with chopped scallions, cilantro, and/or sour cream.

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