Chili perfect with earthy zinfandel

2022-07-23 05:19:18 By : Ms. Linda Wu

Our wine of the week, Beltane Ranch 2019 Zinfandel, Heins Block Estate ($52), is a zinfandel that dazzles, with deep, earthy flavors suggestive of sweet spices and high notes that evoke rose petals and raspberries.

You’ll notice hints of milk chocolate, a touch of tobacco, cracked white pepper and a suggestion of vanilla bean. Tannins are firm yet refined, without fuzzy dryness.

The wine is lovely with a summer tomato-butter sauce tossed with pappardelle. A tomato galette with St. George cheese is another excellent summer match. You’ll enjoy the wine with grilled eggplant, grilled pizza, mild red curries, wild Pacific king salmon and specialty mushrooms, such as maitake and porcini.

For today’s recipe, I’ve gone into my archives for my old chili Colorado recipe, which I have been making since I was running the kitchen at the long-gone Jerome’s Good Dogs, a popular diner in Cotati in the 1970s and early 1980s. I love this dish on a hot summer night, when friends can gather outside without jackets or a fire pit.

2½ - 3 pounds beef chuck or sirloin, cut into ⅓-inch cubes or ground for chili

3 tablespoons medium-hot red chile powder (see Note)

3 cans (10 ounces each) Las Palmas brand red chile sauce

2 cups beef stock or water

Black pepper in a mill

1 bunch green onions, trimmed and cut into thin rounds

4 ounces (1 cup) grated cheddar cheese

Heat the olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions and saute until very soft and fragrant, 15 to 20 minutes. Add the chiles and garlic and saute 2 minutes more. Season with salt.

Increase the heat to high, add the meat and brown thoroughly, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to medium. Sprinkle the mixture with the flour, stir and then sprinkle with chile powder and chipotle powder.

Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Then add the cumin, oregano and vinegar and stir thoroughly. Add the chile sauce and stock or water, stir thoroughly, bring to a boil and reduce the heat. Simmer, partially covered, until the meat is very tender and the sauce has thickened, about 2 hours. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking and add water if it becomes too dry. Taste the chili and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately or refrigerate overnight before serving. Refrigerated chili improves for several days.

To serve, scatter the green onions or cilantro on top of the chili and heat the tortillas until they are tender but not crisp. Serve the hot tortillas, avocado and cheese alongside.

Note: Gebhardt’s is a good commercial brand of chile powder. To make your own, roast several dried chiles of a single type such as ancho, New Mexico or pasilla in a heavy skillet set over medium heat for about 3 minutes, turning once. As soon as the chiles release their fragrance, remove them from the pan and let them cool. Chop them coarsely and grind them in a spice mill, coffee grinder or molcajete. Use immediately or store, covered, in a cool pantry.

Variation: Before cutting the meat, grill it outside over mesquite until it is just rare. Cool and dice as instructed; this adds a wonderfully smoky element that goes beautifully with the chipotles.

Michele Anna Jordan is the author of 24 books to date, including “A New Cook’s Tour of Sonoma.” Email her at

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