Cooking Beef and Black Bean Chili with Avocado Relish

I felt like chili last week because it’s been cold and rainy lately. So, I looked through the folder I have on my desktop filled with recipes, most of which are from the Food Network site. I stopped on the first one, which is Bobby Flay’s Beef and Black Bean Chili with Avocado Relish (the recipe also tells you how to make Toasted Cumin Crema, but I skipped that in favor of good, old fashioned sour cream). I’d made this recipe once before and, if memory serves, it turned out really spicy, though I didn’t remember that until much later. It called for pasilla chili which I didn’t have and didn’t buy, so I just went with ancho chili powder, cumin and a shake or two of cayenne. The only other change I made was not including the ancho chili paste because I don’t know what that is and therefore did not have any.

Before really getting started, I got all the spices together in a small bowl. I like to get as many things like this done ahead of time. I also chopped up the onion and garlic before getting to the beef. I made short work of two pounds of London broil, quickly turning it into cubes and popping them into a bowl. With everything ready, I put a stock pot–wasn’t sure if it would have fit in a Dutch oven, but it probably would have–got the oil warming and then dropped the cubes in.

Once the beef was browned and I sprinkled some salt and pepper in there (I should have done this earlier in the process, but it slipped my mind). I then drained out all of the grease and poured about three tablespoons back into the pot using a two cup measuring pourer. The onions and garlic went in next along with all the spices, which turned into a kind of roux. After the designated two minutes, I poured in the dark beer (we had a Saranac sampler pack in the house so I chose the Black Forest type) and continued the recipe as it’s written.

While the chili cooked, I put the Avocado Relish together which was super easy. You basically chop up some avocado (I had three, instead of the recommended two), red onion and the tiniest Jalapeno I could find and throw that into a bowl. Then I squeezed one and a half limes into the bowl, sprinkled some salt and pepper in, mixed and was done! My wife hates cilantro, so I skipped that.

I forgot to snap a picture of the bowl, but I also shredded some cheddar cheese and put out the sour cream. I’m not sure if people normally put sour cream on their chili, but I started doing it after going over to a party at my friend Jimmy’s parents’ house when I was a kid. They had a crock pot of chili going, cheese and some sour cream out along with all the other food, so I put it on top. I mentioned it to my parents and they’d never heard of it, so maybe I accidentally invented something, but I doubt it. This chili turned out to be pretty darn spicy, though not as bad as last time. The avocado relish and sour cream really cut down on the heat, which was nice. There was still a kick, but it wasn’t too overwhelming.

By the way, does anyone know about pasilla chili? Is it super-hot? I haven’t encountered other recipes with it, but I’m curious what flavors it adds. Thanks!

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