While we’re on the subject of chili I thought it might be cool to raise the bar a little and throw a little elegance on the table with my chili dinner. Break out the lace table cloth, light the candles, turn down the lights and throw some Barry Manilow on the CD player.
This evening’s menu?
Spicy green chili with chili lavash and perfect margaritas. When dining on this special occasion chili I like to break out my formal dinner jacket and I usually invite my personal psychic from across the street, Juanita to dine with me on the veranda under the desert moon. Juanita fills out an evening gown like Charo on steroids and she’s not afraid to let one loose in the night air when the chili starts to work on her. My kind of dinner companion.
Chili Verde or green chili is a spicy stew born in New Mexico with strong Native American and Mexican influences. It is unique because it is what it says it is. Green chili, no tomatoes. It also unusual because it is made from chunks of pork butt brewed in chicken broth with plenty of garlic, tomatillos and roasted New Mexico chilies.
1 ½ Lbs Tomatillos, Husked, Washed and Cut in half
5 Cloves Garlic, Peeled and Smashed
1 Jalapeno, Seeded
1 Poblano Chili, Seeded
3-4 Lbs. Pork Butt, Fat Trimmed and Cut into Chunks
Salt/Freshly Ground Black Pepper
2 Onions, Chopped
3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
2 Tbs. Fresh Mexican Oregano, Chopped
2 ½ Cups Chicken Stock
1 Tsp. Ground Cloves
Place tomatillos, garlic, and peppers on a baking sheet and roast in the broiler for 10 minutes until skins are lightly blackened. Allow to cool.
Place tomatillos, garlic and peppers in a food processor and pulse until combined.
Season the pork and brown in batches in the olive oil in a heavy stockpot. Pour off excess fat, remove pork and sauté onions and garlic in the pot until limp, about 2-3 minutes. Add the sauce and meat, chicken stock, oregano and cloves. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 2-3 hours.
Chili Verde is traditionally served with warm flour tortillas or freshly made corn tortillas.
Juanita and I enjoy our green chili with lavash, an Armenian flatbread with a twist that adds a touch of class to the table. Leave it to a couple of romantic chili heads like me and Juanita to break with tradition.
1 3 Oz. Package Yeast
1 ¼ Cups Warm Water
¼ Cup Plain Yogurt, Room Temp
Pinch of Salt
2 Cups Flour
2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
2 Tbs. Chili Powder
Toasted Sesame or Poppy Seeds
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Sprinkle yeast in water and stir until dissolved. In a bowl combine yeast-water, yogurt and salt, mixing well. Add flours and chili powder and mix well until dough is stiff.
Turn out dough on a floured surface, knead and shape in to a ball. Place in a greased bowl, cover with saran and let rise for 2 hours. Punch the dough down and let rise another half-hour.
Cut dough into equal pieces and roll out to about ½ to1 inch thickness. Brush with olive oil, sprinkle sesame or poppy seeds on dough, place on baking sheet and bake for 5-7 minutes. Bread will be slightly blistered when down.
Finally, to wash down this gourmet supper nothing can accompany Chili Verde like a pitcher of perfect margaritas. Add a pinch of chili powder to the salt before rimming the glass.
1 ½ Oz. 1800 Gold Tequila
¾ Oz. Cointreau
¾ Oz. Gran Marnier
½ Oz. Lime Juice
2 Oz. Margarita Mix
Salt, Lime wedges
Mix all ingredients except salt and lime wedges. Coat the edge of the glass with lime wedge and twirl the glass in the salt. Pour drink into glass and enjoy.
Okay, so the Chili Verde is different, the chili lavash bread is untraditional and the margaritas may be a bit spicy. But isn’t that what it’s all about when dining on chili? It gets me in a romantic mood. The desert landscape, the heat of the chili and the chill of margaritas. I can gaze across the stylish table into Juanita’s coral blue eyes and finally pop the question to her.
“Pull my finger?”