This chili, a recipe from Tyler Florence, is unlike any other chili I’ve had before. The spices are pretty typical, for the most part, but the texture is totally different. Instead of using ground beef, this chili uses beef shoulder that braises for 2-plus hours until it’s falling-apart tender. Then you mash it up until the pot is full of tender shreds of beef coated in richly spiced sauce. If it’s possible, this chili is even heartier than the usual ground-beef version.
I made a few adjustments for what I had on hand, which I’ll note in the recipe. Otherwise, I followed Tyler’s words to a T. This was a big hit at our football party yesterday, and is even better the next day. (How do I know, you ask? I ate it for breakfast. No big deal.)
Not Your Average Beef Chili
very loosely adapted from Tyler Florence
serves 4 to 6
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 pounds beef shoulder, cut into large cubes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons good-quality chili powder
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoons ground coriander
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 tablespoon hot paprika
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 small/medium onions, diced
10 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1 jalapeno, seeded and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
Garnish: sour cream, pickled jalapenos, and shredded cheese
Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Sprinkle beef shoulder all over with salt and pepper. Add to the pot and brown it. As it’s browning, stir in the chili powder; cumin; coriander; regular, hot and smoked paprikas; oregano; and cinnamon. Stir to combine. Lower the temperature to medium. Place the onions, garlic, jalapeno, and tomato paste in a food processor, and puree. Add puree to the pot. Stir to combine, and cook for 3 minutes or so, stirring often to keep mixture from scorching.
Add enough water to cover by 1 inch, and add tomatoes with their liquid. Bring to a boil, skimming off the foam that rises to the surface. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the meat is completely tender and comes apart with no resistance, about 2 to 2 1/2 hours. As it cooks down, add more water to keep the consistency loose but not soupy. Use a potato masher and mash the beef so it comes apart in shreds. Taste, and add salt and pepper, if needed. Serve with cheese, sour cream, and pickled jalapenos.
Making in a Slow Cooker
My friend Lainie asked in the comments whether this could be done with a slow cooker, and I think it could. I’d probably brown the meat first in a large skillet, for the added flavor. But if you don’t have time, it would still be fine. If you did brown the meat first, add the spices to the skillet to toast them. If not, then add the spices to the food processor with the onion mixture.
Place the meat (browned or not) in the slow cooker, and add the pureed onion mixture, tomatoes, and enough water to cover by about 1 inch. Cover, and cook on low for 8 hours, or until the beef falls apart when mashed. Uncover for the last 1/2 hour or so to thicken it up just a bit. Mash, and serve!