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MENU PLANNER

Sizzling Chili, Chilling Souffle

August 31, 1995|LEILA COBO-HANLON | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

During the summer, informal entertaining often means barbecue.

But for those who are tired of getting a face full of smoke or who simply don't like to cook while their guests look on, a hearty bowl of chili will still evoke memories of the Old West and eating by the campfire.

For sheer heartiness and flavor, few chili recipes rival 72 Market Street's famed "kick-ass" chili. Long a favorite in the trendy Venice Beach restaurant, the Kick-Ass Chili doesn't use beans but relies entirely on a blend of pork, bacon and beef for consistency. Although the recipe calls for beefalo stew meat, you may substitute chuck steak.

The "kick" is provided by a blend of chili and peppers and a healthy dose of Bass ale. Of course, it can be made spicier if you like.

The chili is best if cooked the day before to allow the flavors to settle in; that gives it even more kick.

The chili can be accompanied by several side dishes, ranging from rice to steamed vegetables, but a tasty and practical alternative is a slab of old-fashioned corn bread.

This rich corn bread recipe uses maple syrup for a slight sweetness, which balances beautifully with the spiciness of the chili. The bacon drippings and crumbled bacon give it added flavor. You may use low-fat buttermilk if you're watching your fat intake.

The heartiness of the meal can be balanced with a crisp green salad in a light vinaigrette. And save room for the chilled lime souffle with strawberry sauce; it will provide a breath of fresh air for your hot palate. Despite its pretentious name and lovely presentation, this dessert is remarkably easy to make and, like the chili, can be prepared a day in advance.

Menu

Green Salad

Kick-Ass Chili

Bread

Chilled Lime

Souffle with Strawberry Sauce

Beer

GAME PLAN

Day before dinner: Make chili. Make souffle.

Morning of dinner: If you haven't made the souffle, do so now. It needs at least four hours to chill.

Two hours before: Wash and dry salad greens, wrap in tea towel and store in refrigerator until ready to dress. Prepare salad dressing of choice (recipe not provided). Prepare strawberry sauce and refrigerate. Saute bacon for corn bread and reserve drippings. Have corn bread ingredients ready.

One hour before dinner: Reheat chili.

Twenty minutes before dinner: Mix and bake corn bread.

Last minute: Slice corn bread and dress salad.

After dinner: Serve souffle in individual dishes. Spoon strawberry sauce over each serving and garnish with fresh sliced berries.

STAPLES

Onions

Tomatoes

Tomato paste

Oregano

Cumin

Chili powder

Chile flakes

Garlic

Yellow cornmeal

Flour

Baking powder

Baking soda

Salt

Eggs

Butter

Vanilla extract

Sugar

Lemon

SHOPPING LIST

1/4 pound bacon

1 1/2 pork butt

3 pounds beefalo stew meat or chuck steak

jalapeno peppers

Bass ale

Buttermilk

Maple syrup

Unflavored gelatin

6 to 8 medium limes

Assorted fresh berries

1 1/2 pints strawberries

Chambord or Cointreau liqueur

Salad greens

KICK-ASS CHILI

1/4 pound bacon, diced

1 1/2 pound pork butt (diced very small)

3 pounds beefalo stew meat or chuck steak, diced very small

1 chopped onion

6 plum tomatoes

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon pasilla chile flakes

2 teaspoons chopped garlic

1 (15-ounce) bottle Bass ale

1 jalapeno pepper

Salt, pepper

Cook bacon, then add pork and beefalo or chuck and fry until brown. Add onion, tomatoes and tomato paste. Bring to boil and add oregano, cumin, chili powder, pasilla flakes, garlic, ale and jalapeno. Cook until meat is tender. Strain the braising juice to obtain desired consistency and flavor. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 6 servings.

Each serving contains about:

498 calories; 297 mg sodium; 169 mg cholesterol; 24 grams fat; 8 grams carbohydrates; 55 grams protein; 0.76 gram fiber.

VERMONT CORN BREAD

4 strips bacon

1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal

1/2 cup flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1 egg, lightly beaten

3 tablespoons maple syrup

1 tablespoon melted butter

Cook bacon until very crisp. Drain and crumble bacon, reserving 3 tablespoons drippings.

Combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large mixing bowl. Stir in buttermilk, egg, bacon drippings, maple syrup and bacon bits. Mix well.

Pour batter into greased 8-inch square pan. Brush with melted butter. Bake at 425 degrees until golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve warm, cut into pieces.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Each of 4 servings contains about:

488 calories; 1,072 mg sodium; 79 mg cholesterol; 19 grams fat; 66 grams carbohydrates; 12 grams protein; 0.36 gram fiber.

CHILLED LIME SOUFFLE WITH STRAWBERRY SAUCE

Make the strawberry sauce just a few hours before serving and refrigerate; it does not keep. Strawberry sauce also makes an excellent base for strawberry ice cream.

SOUFFLE

1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin

3/4 cup lime juice

1 cup sugar

6 eggs, separated

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Zest of 1 lime

Fresh berries for garnish

Soften gelatin in 1/4 cup lime juice.

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