As our resident bartender, Swoboda is always trying something new. Be it that one brand of beer he hasn’t seen at the store before, a last minute cocktail concoction from the ingredients in his fridge or a new blend of grapes from the wine rep, he’s up for anything. Here are his tasting thoughts for the week:
I am in the mindset for cooking after making a delicious pot roast with oxtail, onions and potatoes. If you know me at all, dear reader, you’ll know I enjoy cooking with booze. Anything goes, from the splash of red wine I used in the pot roast to the pyromaniacal joys of flambéing with high-test grog. The options are limitless, and are as easy as pairing your food with drink. If you drink wine, use the same thing you’re drinking to add complexity to whatever you’re stirring — risotto is shameful without this trick. If you’ve got a beer in your hand, don’t hesitate to drop a slug in batter, barbecue sauce, said pot roast or, especially, chili.
I’m not the biggest fan of Two and a Half Men, but I did see the episode where Charlie makes “blackout chili.” The premise is when Charlie gets black-out drunk — and only then — he makes the most kick-ass chili, and a huge mess. Laughs ensue. I didn’t realize that TV producers were watching my life for plot ideas (although Charlie Sheen probably does the same thing in real life too). As my friends can attest, I’ve been making blackout chili for years, to delicious results, and my shamble-drunk technique always includes whatever I’m drinking at the time. This could be as mild as Budweiser (delicious) or as hardcore as tequila añejo (still delicious). There is no recipe to speak of, it’s almost too easy to apply one. Since I love you, dear reader, here’s a recipe you can follow even when you’re pulling a Charlie Sheen:
Brown ground beef and pork in the bottom of a big pot (I use 3 lb. and 1 lb. respectively.
Add everything from one of those chili seasoning sets you find at the grocery store (I use Fowler’s 2-Alarm) and stir.
Add two quarts of chicken stock, your booze (12 oz. beers are perfect) and anything you want from the cupboard. For one epic batch I used:
– Two chopped onions
– Chopped celery
– Minced garlic
– Three jalapenos
– Sriracha hot sauce (ALWAYS add this, and way more than you think. Way way more. Nope, keep going…)
– Chili powder (they don’t give you enough in the kit)
– Crushed red pepper flakes
– Dave’s Insanity Sauce (newbies and the sober need not apply)
Simmer for two hours. Don’t skimp on this time. Besides, if you’re not drunk yet this will give you time to do so.
Add two or three cans of beans (red, kidney, black, pinto or even garbanzo) and bring to a boil.
You’re done! Making chili that is. Wake up. No really, turn the burner off and come eat. In order to make your chili even better, add sour cream and Fritos.