By Tom Mylan
10 dried guajillo chilies
2 lb. ground beef
2 lb. ground pork
1 lb. ground lamb
3 large yellow onions, roughly chopped
1 head garlic, separated into cloves, peeled, and chopped, or to taste
Two 16-oz. cans whole tomatoes
Three 12-oz. cans hominy
1 cup or so toasted cumin seeds, finely ground
1/4 cup cayenne pepper, or to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cheap beer or beef stock (if needed)
White wine vinegar or cider vinegar (if needed)
Sour cream, shredded cheese, onions, scallions, and saltines for serving
Step 1: Let’s start with the most important part: the dried chilies. Take your chilies, pull off the stems, and shake out the seeds. If you want a milder chili, you can slice open the chilies and remove the white veins too.
Step 2: Once you have your deseeded chilies, you want to boil water equivalent to the volume of the chilies (about 4 cups) in a saucepan and then turn off the heat. Make sure that the pan has a lid, or when you add the chilies you’ll pepper-spray your kitchen with the spicy steam that will result. Add the chilies, punch them down, and put on the lid. Basically, you want to wait until the pan has cooled to the point where you can touch the sides with your hand (45 minutes or so).
Step 3: Now purée the whole thing with an immersion blender until it’s smooth. This might be a good time to run the paste through a china cap (fine strainer) to get any bigger pieces out, but if you’re not trying to impress anyone with your flawless French Laundry chef skills, skip it.
Step 4: Next, you want to brown your meat in a large pot, the pot you’re going to be simmering your chili in. Brown over medium heat until, well, brown. I like to sauté the diced onions and garlic separately in some olive oil in a large sauté pan, then add them to the meat, but I don’t think it matters that much.
Step 5: Now add your chili paste, tomatoes, hominy, most of the cumin, the cayenne, and salt and pepper to taste to the combination of meat and onions. After it simmers over low heat for a while, say 45 minutes, taste it and correct the seasoning. Usually I find that it needs more garlic, heat (cayenne), cumin, and/or salt.
Step 6: Your chili should simmer for another hour.
Step 7: Now it’s time to hit the pot with the immersion blender, making sure to break up all the clumps of meat and catch any stray tomatoes. This may take a while! You’re shooting for Hormel consistency here. Now give the chili a taste. Is it too thick? Add beer or stock. Too fatty? Add some white wine vinegar or cider vinegar.
Step 8: Serve with sour cream, shredded cheese, onions, scallions, and saltines.
Reprinted with permission from Tom Mylan’s The Meat Hook Meat Book (2014 Artisan).