Television coverage of the 1988 Winter Olympic Games will keep many of us close to our sets in the days ahead. It also provides an opportunity to invite some friends over to watch the athletes compete and enjoy a casual meal.
Serve a big pot of Gold-Winning Beef Chili along with a three-bean salad, sourdough bread and beer or soft drinks. This recipe can be prepared ahead, then rewarmed whenever guests get hungry.
GOLD-WINNING BEEF CHILI
6 dried ancho or pasilla chiles
3 1/2 cups boiling beef broth
3 pounds boneless beef chuck
2 tablespoons oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 large cloves garlic, crushed and finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 to 3 tablespoons chili powder
1 to 2 tablespoons cornmeal, optional
Chopped yellow peppers, red onions, tomato and avocado, lime juice, grated cheese, optional
Remove stems and seeds from chiles and chop coarsely. Place in bowl and cover with boiling beef broth. Let stand 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut beef into 1/2-inch cubes. Heat oil in Dutch oven. Add onion and saute, stirring constantly, until tender and lightly browned. Add garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt and beef. Cook, stirring constantly, just until beef loses pink color.
Strain chiles, reserving liquid. Add 2 1/2 cups chile liquid in beef. Stir in chili powder and cumin. Heat to boiling, reduce heat and simmer over medium-low heat, uncovered, 1 hour. Stir occasionally during cooking.
Place soaked chiles and remaining liquid in blender container. Cover and blend until smooth. (If necessary, add about 1/2 cup water to make blending easier.) Stir into beef mixture.
Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes or until beef is tender. If thicker chili is desired, gradually stir in cornmeal 1 tablespoon at time. Cook, stirring constantly, until thick and mixture boils.
Season to taste with salt. Remove from heat. Serve with chopped yellow peppers, red onions, tomatoes and avocado, lime juice or grated cheese. Makes about 12 servings.
Note: Dried ancho or pasilla chiles are sweet and fairly mild. Purchase in Mexican sections of supermarkets.