This past week my husband's work held a chili-cook-off competition. My husband was eager to participate and determined to make the best chili possible. We've been researching recipes, and tasting ones that we love. Pinks Hotdogs has the best chili hot dog ever. We love the sweet and smooth velvety chili - it's heaven on top of a hot dog, it's worth waiting 2 hours in line to get that darn hot dog. Also our other top choice for chili is Ruby's Diner, they serve chili cheese fries at the Angel Stadium that are too die for. It's a meal in itself that contains a basket of golden crunchy fries with savory velvety chili topped with chunks of shredded tender beef, green onions and cheddar cheese. OMG, it's heaven. Using our heads, we tried our hardest to find a recipe similar to both of our top favorite chili's. It was quite impossible with the endless chili recipes out there, not even a copy-cat version is available for Pinks or Ruby's Diner.
However, we decided to make one of our favorite chef's ultimate chili, Tyler Florence's Ultimate Chili. But after looking at several of the reviews, and looking at the ingredients - I was leery about it. My husband had reviewed several recipes, and handpicked this one to make. But I did more research, and found a great one on Epicurious that might match our taste buds. I switched it up on him at the last minute and he wasn't aware of the new recipe until the night he prepared it. But I had to convince him that this recipe would be a winner. It's pretty hard to find a no-bean chili with tri-tip, and most chili's are made with sirloin or ground beef. We changed the main ingredient because the original asks for brisket. It's not a meat choice that we prefer, and tri-tip was the key ingredient found in our Ruby's Diner chili. This chili does take some serious time to make, and my husband did most of the work for this one. I just bought all the ingredients and prepped the butternut squash for him. If you have the time, please make this chili, it is sure worth eating!
*Disclaimer: Husband won the chili cook off competition, bragging rights to him were rewarded. I'm not taking credit for this recipe, but I'm proud of my husband. He's a great cook, too!
California Tri-Tip Chili
Adapted from Epicurious
3 large dried ancho chiles
3 ounces bacon & pancetta, diced
3/4 pounds yellow onions, chopped (about 2 cups)
2 to 3 lb tri-tip roast, cut into 2 1/2- to 3-inch cubes
Coarse kosher salt
3 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoons cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
3/4 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1 10-ounce cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes
3/4 of 12-ounce bottle dark ale beer *We used Newcastle*
1 4-ounce can diced roasted green chiles
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro stems
2 cups 1 1/2- to 2-inch chunks seeded peeled butternut squash
1. Place chiles in medium bowl. Pour enough boiling water over to cover. Soak until chiles soften, at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours.
2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Sauté bacon & pancetta in dutch oven over medium-high heat until beginning to brown. Add onions. Reduce heat to medium; cover and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle beef all over with coarse salt and pepper. Add to pot; stir to coat. Set aside.
3. Drain chiles, reserving soaking liquid. Place chiles in blender. Add 1 cup soaking liquid, garlic, chili powder, cumin seeds, oregano, coriander, and 3/4teaspoons coarse salt; blend to puree, adding more soaking liquid by 1/4 cupfuls if very thick. Pour puree over tri-tip in pot. Add tomatoes with juices, beer, green chiles, and cilantro stems. Stir to coat evenly.
4. Bring chili to simmer. Cover and place in oven. Cook 2 hours. Uncover and cook until beef is almost tender, about 1 hour. Add squash; stir to coat. Roast uncovered until beef and squash are tender, adding more soaking liquid if needed to keep meat covered, about 45 minutes longer. Season chili to taste with salt and pepper. Tilt pot and spoon off any fat from surface of sauce.
DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Cool 1 hour. Chill uncovered until cold, then cover and keep chilled.
Review: One of the best chili's that I have tasted, the addition of the butternut squash is so amazing. I'm so in love with this vegetable, roasting the butternut squash in the last hour gives the chili so much depth. We were questioning the addition of butternut squash with the chili if it would hold well, comparing it to potatoes - it does not have that bland taste or the mushiness of a sweet potato. The nuttiness and creaminess of butternut squash blends perfectly with the chili. We're already planning to make another batch of chili. YIPEE!