This is it. The end of my ‘Charcutepalooza A Year of Meat’ challenges. The very last one. I must admit to being a bit sad about my timed meat adventure ending. I learned a lot this year. Not only about food, but about where it comes from, food traditions, and even a bit of science. I also learned a bit about myself, and how far I can comfortably go to prepare something (like sausage, bacon or duck confit) that I’d always taken for granted.
This year has opened my eyes not only to the breadth of preserved meats out there, but how much of it can very easily be made at home. These things are not out of my league, they’re dead simple.
All it takes is a little time, a few special tools, lots of pork and patience. Having a partner in crime like my Dearest Husband the master sausage maker doesn’t hurt, either.
As I reflect back on this past year, I can say with all confidence that it has been one of my proudest on the culinary front. Not only have I been busy salting, curing and smoking my own meats, but I have started the first fledgling forays into canning. Zombie apocalypse? Bah. I’m good. I have duck prosciutto and summer jam.
This month’s challenge was to be a charcuterie master class of sorts – we had to use 3-4 different charcuterie elements in a single celebratory dish to show off a bit. So what did I do? I decided to go back to my roots and share a dish I loved as a kid with my hubby.
Ok now Buckeyes, don’t get up in arms. I know this isn’t traditional Cincinnati Chili. I know. Settle down. Breathe. This chili is made in the same spirit and has damn near the same profile of that ‘mole of the midwest’ Buckeyes have come to know and love.
Cinci By Way Of Charcuterie Chili
As I was coming off of an epic charcuterie fail I decided to use this dish as an opportunity to serve the bits and bobs of charcute I’ve collected over the past year.
Original Cincinnati chili calls for 1 1/2 lbs. of ground beef. I went in a different direction.
I used some bacon from this challenge (ok, not from this challenge exactly since I’ve been making about a batch a month since the beginning of the year – this stuff goes quick!)
Some leftover brisket from this challenge (unbrined)
Some leftover breakfast sausage from this challenge (and yes the notes of ginger tasted just fine)
and the topper: the very last bit of the duck confit from this challenge.
2 onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. chili powder
2 Tbsp. paprika
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. coriander
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cayenne
2 cloves, crushed
1 lb. brisket, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
4 oz. home made bacon, sliced into 1/4 inch batons
8 oz. breakfast sausage, broken up
4 oz. duck confit, shredded
1/3 can (~ 6 oz.) canned plain tomato sauce
1/2 can (~ 1 c.) canned plain diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1 square (~2 Tbsp.) unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 (15 oz.) can kidney beans
Huge handful shredded extra sharp cheddar per person
In a dutch oven or other large heavy bottomed pot over medium heat, brown the bacon, brisket and sausage in batches, removing each batch as it is browned. You’re aiming to develop flavors here. If your fond (the brown bits) on the bottom of the pot is getting too burnt, add a little water to loosen. Save it if you can, but if you can’t, pitch it.
After the meats are browned, add 1 tsp. olive oil to the pot along with the onions and garlic. Cook until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes.
Add the meat back to the pan along with the spices, beans, tomatoes, tomato paste, vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Add water until the mixture is covered by 2 or so inches. I made my chili in a 5 quart dutch oven and added water to the fill line.
Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer 2 hours until everything is very tender and delicious.
Let sit, uncovered, a few hours until ready to serve. You want to give the flavors a chance to mix, mingle and marry.
When you’re ready to serve, turn the heat on to medium while you cook the spaghetti (following package directions).
When your spaghetti goes into the pot, add the duck to the chili. Stir to combine.
Serve the chili over the spaghetti and top with a huge handful of cheese per serving.
Serves 6 – 8, depending upon your serving size.