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Let's eat.

From Big Sur's killer cliff-clinging eateries to Salinas' unparalleled produce, this blog aims to sniff out all things Monterey County can stomach, via picture and prose, curiosity and appetite, hand and mouth.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Oh My Goat: Chili From God Recipe

This story started with a potluck. It turned a corner with an insomniac e-mail from an intern. And it ended cushioned by a heaven-sent cloud of chili flavor.

Weekly intern-at-the-time (and current contributor/court translator and former longtime ex-pat in Spain) Daniel DeCamp, pictured above in his habit, brought along his stew to a potluck. It was damn good. I pulled him aside, and asked him to start bringing it by on deadline night, soliciting feedback and honing his recipe, because I suddenly had aspirations for an amateur entry at the Carmel Valley Chamber's Annual Great Bowls of Fire Chili Cook-off at Holman Ranch.

DeCamp (seen here talking language theory with sheriff candidate Scott Miller) is prone to firing off essays in the middle of the night, including recent pieces on Spanish food versus Mexican and the problem with dogmatic thinking. One about chili came at me thusly:

"I was in my kitchen, pondering what to do with a massive supply of pork shoulder I had recently bought, when a powerful godlike voice spoke to me," the e-mail begins. "It said: YE SHALL MAKE CHILI! At that moment a sense of divine urgency came over me. I repaired to my study and in a matter of minutes I emerged, like Moses coming down from the mount, carrying a legal pad on which my new chili recipe was scrawled."

The close: "Finally, after much anticipation, I sat down to taste my creation. And it was good. The otherwordly voice spoke again. It said: YOU HAVE DONE WELL MY SON. NOW GO FORTH AND SHARE...

"All my life I've been searching, yes searching for something to give meaning to my life. I thought to myself perhaps this is it. Perhaps this is my purpose. The quest: to be a chili cook-off champion."

He need only perfect his already-excellent stuff. Soon his higher-power pork was replaced with carefully sourced goat to honor some anti-swine eating patterns among our growing champion-to-be team and open up the possibility of a chili called Oh My Goat, which fit with the divine inspiration his e-mail had provided for a theme.

When the day drew near last week, the Weekly angels sprung to action. Folks helped reconoiter the requisite nun costumes, candles and sweet sign designs. We painted a confessions/critiques booth. We crafted the 10 Chili-mandments. Number Seven: Thou shall not steal the OMG Chili recipe. Just ask for it.

Daniel's epic recipe follows, as does another recipe from the pro winner, Marinus Sous Chef Anna Steege.

But wait, you're wondering, how could chili this heavenly, this blessed, lose? My crack expert advice: We were sinfully placed off the main track, tucked into a courtyard away from the lawns, which we didn't so much realize—or mind, since we were between two margarita booths, including Rio Grill's, where Cy Yontz had some boffo buffalo chili going with smoked gouda and blood-orange-serrano pepper margies from Eddie Banaszek.

Almost everyone that did find us thanked the Good Lord they had, whispering, "We were told to find the nuns," but not everybody persevered long enough to get to OMG in the first place.

See...this lady is praying for another refill. Seven types of layered chili pepper can do that. And look at that confession booth with the holy goat. Shoulda been a lock for best table.

This table got top nod...gorgeous tomatoes from a gifted farmer, but creativity that hasn't really ascended too highly. And though you had to admire the great organic sourcing, the chili was plain.

Ah, sour goat milk that can't taint a great event. We had a blast. And now you have some great recipes, delivered directly from the chefs without editing from this mortal flavor-maker.

Wicked Wickets Chili with Short Ribs and Roasted Peppers

Short Ribs 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 ½ pounds short ribs
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrot
1 cup, peeled, seeded and chopped heirloom tomatoes
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 cup Bernardus Pinot Noir
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
3 bay leaves
2 quarts beef broth
salt and pepper

Roasted Peppers
1 pablano pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 Anaheim pepper
1 jalapeño pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
½ habanero pepper

1 white onion diced
4 cloves crushed garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon paprika
½ teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon cumin
chipotle peppers (optional)

Heat oil in a Dutch oven or large, heavy covered pot over high heat.

Season ribs with salt and pepper – patting it in well with your hands.

When pot is nearly smoking add ribs without crowding them and sear on all sides until they form a brown crust.

Do this in batches if necessary. When all ribs have browned, add onions, celery and carrot: sauté 1 minute to brown lightly.

Stir in tomatoes, garlic, wine, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaves, pepper and enough broth to cover ribs.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat to gently simmering. Cover and simmer until very tender, about 2 ½ hours. Cool and cut into bite sized pieces (most of it will fall apart). Reserve cooking liquid.

Roast all chilies on grill until skins are blackened. Allow to cool in a covered pan. Peel skins and seeds away. Dice peppers.

Heat large sauté pan over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, garlic and diced onions. Cook until onions are translucent and then add roasted, chopped peppers. Add beef short ribs and remaining cooking liquid to pan and bring to low simmer. Stir in spices and adjust accordingly. Add more beef broth to adjust consistency.


Oh My Goat Chili

Main ingredients

3 lbs. goat shoulder cut in bite sized pieces

4 cups cooked pinto beans

15 medium roma tomatoes


1 medium onion

2 medium carrots

2 celery stalks

2 garlic cloves

1 jalapeño pepper

1 serrano pepper

1 habanero pepper

1 poblano pepper

1 Thai chili pepper

1 Anaheim chili pepper

Spices and other ingredients

2 tbsp. chili powder

2 tbsp. cumin

1 tbsp. ground coriander seed

1 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

1½ tbsp. salt

Salt, pepper, garlic powder and flour to coat meat

¼ cup olive oil, plus 1 tbsp. for later

4 tbsp. unsalted butter

6 oz. dry Marsala wine

8 oz. organic free range chicken broth

¼ cup all purpose flour

It's a good idea to prep all the ingredients before the cooking begins.

To start, finely chop all the vegetables, except the tomatoes, and combine in a bowl.

Next, blanch and peel the tomatoes, chop them into not-too-small pieces and set aside.

Season the pieces of meat with salt, pepper and garlic powder and then coat with flour.

In a 10-quart stock pot, bring ¼ cup of olive oil to medium-low heat. When ripples form in the olive oil, not smoking, place a small piece of the meat in the oil to see if it's hot enough to brown the rest of the meat.

The oil is ready when the meat sizzles moderately.

Add enough of the meat to cover the bottom of the pot without crowding.

You may need to do it in two or three batches.

Move the meat around occasionally and when it's slightly golden brown, not dark, remove the stock pot from the heat. Then remove the meat with a slotted spoon and set aside in a bowl.

You can also go ahead and measure the dry spices and combine in a small bowl or container while cooking the meat or at any time during the process.

Now that you have all the ingredients ready, the cooking process can begin. Put 1 tbsp. of olive oil and 4 tbsp. of butter in the stock pot.

Adjust heat to medium-low and wait until the butter is melted.

Turn the heat to medium high and immediately add the chopped vegetables, except the tomatoes.

Keep cooking and stirring until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Next, add the meat back to the pot with all its juices.

Sprinkle the quarter cup of flour into the mixture and stir with a wooden spoon for about 2 minutes so that the flour is cooked into the juices and coats the ingredients.

Turn the heat to high and add 6 oz. of dry Marsala wine. Stir in for a minute or two or until you see the mixture turn into a thick paste.

Now add the 8 oz. of warmed chicken broth. Pour in the dry spices and stir until the mixture starts to bubble a little.

Immediately add the chopped tomatoes and stir well so they are equally distributed with the rest of the mixture. When it begins to bubble wait about 30 seconds and then turn the heat down to a very low temperature.

Add the pinto beans after about an hour. Allow to simmer for a total of 1½ to 2 hours or until the meat is tender, not chewy, and you can cut it with a fork or spoon.

Stir occasionally and keep the heat low enough so the bottom doesn't burn.

And that's our baaaaad ass goat chili.