During the summer, informal entertaining often means barbecue.
But for those who are tired of getting a face full of smoke or who simply don’t like to cook while their guests look on, a hearty bowl of chili will still evoke memories of the Old West and eating by the campfire.
For sheer heartiness and flavor, few chili recipes rival 72 Market Street’s famed “kick-ass” chili. Long a favorite in the trendy Venice Beach restaurant, the Kick-Ass Chili doesn’t use beans but relies entirely on a blend of pork, bacon and beef for consistency. Although the recipe calls for beefalo stew meat, you may substitute chuck steak.
The “kick” is provided by a blend of chili and peppers and a healthy dose of Bass ale. Of course, it can be made spicier if you like.
The chili is best if cooked the day before to allow the flavors to settle in; that gives it even more kick.
The chili can be accompanied by several side dishes, ranging from rice to steamed vegetables, but a tasty and practical alternative is a slab of old-fashioned corn bread.
This rich corn bread recipe uses maple syrup for a slight sweetness, which balances beautifully with the spiciness of the chili. The bacon drippings and crumbled bacon give it added flavor. You may use low-fat buttermilk if you’re watching your fat intake.
The heartiness of the meal can be balanced with a crisp green salad in a light vinaigrette. And save room for the chilled lime souffle with strawberry sauce; it will provide a breath of fresh air for your hot palate. Despite its pretentious name and lovely presentation, this dessert is remarkably easy to make and, like the chili, can be prepared a day in advance.
Souffle with Strawberry Sauce
Day before dinner: Make chili. Make souffle.
Morning of dinner: If you haven’t made the souffle, do so now. It needs at least four hours to chill.
Two hours before: Wash and dry salad greens, wrap in tea towel and store in refrigerator until ready to dress. Prepare salad dressing of choice (recipe not provided). Prepare strawberry sauce and refrigerate. Saute bacon for corn bread and reserve drippings. Have corn bread ingredients ready.
One hour before dinner: Reheat chili.
Twenty minutes before dinner: Mix and bake corn bread.
Last minute: Slice corn bread and dress salad.
After dinner: Serve souffle in individual dishes. Spoon strawberry sauce over each serving and garnish with fresh sliced berries.
1/4 pound bacon
1 1/2 pork butt
3 pounds beefalo stew meat or chuck steak
6 to 8 medium limes
Assorted fresh berries
1 1/2 pints strawberries
Chambord or Cointreau liqueur
1/4 pound bacon, diced
1 1/2 pound pork butt (diced very small)
3 pounds beefalo stew meat or chuck steak, diced very small
1 chopped onion
6 plum tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon pasilla chile flakes
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1 (15-ounce) bottle Bass ale
1 jalapeno pepper
Cook bacon, then add pork and beefalo or chuck and fry until brown. Add onion, tomatoes and tomato paste. Bring to boil and add oregano, cumin, chili powder, pasilla flakes, garlic, ale and jalapeno. Cook until meat is tender. Strain the braising juice to obtain desired consistency and flavor. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Makes 6 servings.
Each serving contains about:
498 calories; 297 mg sodium; 169 mg cholesterol; 24 grams fat; 8 grams carbohydrates; 55 grams protein; 0.76 gram fiber.
VERMONT CORN BREAD
4 strips bacon
1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon melted butter
Cook bacon until very crisp. Drain and crumble bacon, reserving 3 tablespoons drippings.
Combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large mixing bowl. Stir in buttermilk, egg, bacon drippings, maple syrup and bacon bits. Mix well.
Pour batter into greased 8-inch square pan. Brush with melted butter. Bake at 425 degrees until golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve warm, cut into pieces.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.
Each of 4 servings contains about:
488 calories; 1,072 mg sodium; 79 mg cholesterol; 19 grams fat; 66 grams carbohydrates; 12 grams protein; 0.36 gram fiber.
CHILLED LIME SOUFFLE WITH STRAWBERRY SAUCE
Make the strawberry sauce just a few hours before serving and refrigerate; it does not keep. Strawberry sauce also makes an excellent base for strawberry ice cream.
1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
3/4 cup lime juice
1 cup sugar
6 eggs, separated
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest of 1 lime
Fresh berries for garnish
Soften gelatin in 1/4 cup lime juice.
Combine 1/2 cup sugar, egg yolks and remaining 1/2 cup lime juice in large saucepan. Whisk over low heat until mixture thickens slightly. Remove from heat and continue stirring. Add butter, softened gelatin, vanilla extract and lime zest. Whisk thoroughly until blended. Chill 30 minutes. When mixture is chilled, beat egg whites to soft peaks. Still beating, add remaining sugar gradually until whites form stiff peaks. Sugar should be dissolved and egg whites should be thick and shiny.
Stir small amount of beaten egg white into lime mixture to lighten it. Gently fold in remaining egg whites. Turn mixture into souffle dish and cover with plastic wrap.
Refrigerate from 4 to 24 hours. Serve with Strawberry Sauce and garnish with fresh berries.
3 cups fresh strawberries, hulled
1/4 cup sugar
Dash lemon juice
2 tablespoons Chambord (raspberry liqueur) or Cointreau
Puree strawberries in food processor or blender. Add sugar, lemon juice and liqueur. Blend until sugar is dissolved, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.
Makes 8 servings.
Each serving contains about:
234 calories; 78 mg sodium; 167 mg cholesterol; 7 grams fat; 38 grams carbohydrates; 6 grams protein; 0.30 gram fiber.
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Beefalo is a cross between domestic beef cattle and American bison (buffalo). The original purpose of the cross was to produce a breed of cattle that could live in severe weather areas, but its meat turned out to be almost one-third lower in fat than regular beef. Beefalo tastes like beef, but because it contains less fat, it’s generally cooked rare.
It’s available in some markets or directly from beefalo ranches. For information on market availability, call Livestock Research & Innovation, (800) 683-6723.