3 PINES CHRISTMAS EVE CHILI
I originally began making this every Christmas Eve when my Mother was living with me in the '70's. After I married, I "hottened" up the recipe a little and continued the tradition; however, you need not save this for a once-a-year concoction. Make it often; serve as leftovers; and it's great used in Chili Mac!!

1 recipe Caroline's Chili Beans -- optional; or 2-3 16-oz. cans chili beans
4 slices bacon -- diced
2 pounds ground beef (coarse chili grind preferred)
1 pound ground pork (coarse chili grind preferred)
4 cups coarsely chopped onions
1 large Green Pepper -- finely chopped
4 jalapeno chiles, seeded if desired -- finely chopped
3 cloves garlic -- minced
2 teaspoons kosher salt -- divided
1 teaspoon coarse-ground black pepper -- divided
1/2 cup pure New Mexico chile powder, or other chili powder blend
1 tablespoon cayenne, or to taste
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano (Mexican preferred)
1 can Diced Tomatoes (14-oz.) with juice
1 can Tomato Sauce (8-oz.)
1 bottle Beer (12-oz.) preferably Mexican -- at room temperature
2 cups Beef Broth
2 tablespoons Sugar
3 tablespoons Masa Harina, or Yellow Corn Meal

Prepare Chili Beans recipe, if using; cook while preparing chili.

In a large kettle or Dutch oven, cook bacon until crisp. Add beef and pork, break it up with a large fork leaving a few large lumps; cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink, about 12-15 minutes. Drain off fat and excess moisture.

Add onions, green pepper, and chiles; sprinkle with a little of the salt and pepper to bring out the flavor. (Add additional chiles now if desired.) Cook over medium-low heat until barely soft, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in the remaining salt and pepper, the chile powders, cayenne, cumin and oregano, making sure mixture is well-blended. Stir in tomatoes, tomato sauce, beer, beef stock and sugar; mix well. Slowly bring chili to a simmer over medium-low heat; partially cover and simmer over very low heat 1 hour.

Taste and adjust seasonings; partially cover again and simmer about 1 hour longer. Stir in masa harina or cornmeal, prepared chili beans or canned beans. Partially cover again and simmer at least 1 hour or until ready to serve (a heat diffuser (or flame-tamer) can be used to keep chili from sticking). Serve in large warm soup bowls with chopped fresh onion, shredded cheddar cheese, warm tortilla chips or corn bread,, and lots of cold beer!

NOTES:
1. These chiles may be used if more "heat" is desired (add with tomatoes):
- 1-2 fresh Serrano chiles, with or without seeds and membranes, chopped
- 4 canned Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce, chopped
- 1 can chopped Green Chilies (4-oz.)
- If extreme "heat" is desired, add 1 habaero chile, seeded and finely chopped (add with onions):
2. After cooking meat and vegetables, chili may be cooked in a slow-cooker 8-9 hours.

Copyright 2004 Carol Stevens, Shaboom's Kitchen, All Rights Reserved