Chinese Chili

Okay… here’s one for the fusion-folks – a mashup of cultures with a familiar look but an unexpected taste!

I was looking for a brisket recipe and stumbled upon this from the New York Times. I set my skepticism aside and decided to go for it. I’m rather glad I did. It’s pretty good!

I did my own twist on things, of course… The original recipe calls for 2 large onions – I used one and added leeks and shallots. It then called for 2 jalapeños and 1 habanero pepper – I had hot peppers from the garden. I used a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale for the beer and added two jars of our home-canned beans – the recipe calls for serving it with black beans, fermented black beans, rice, and fried noodles. I thought that was a bit of overkill…

It also called for a tablespoon of rice vinegar at the end. I used black vinegar because I have black vinegar. It’s kinda cool. The original recipe also called for a full tablespoon of the Chinese Five Spice. It can sometimes be a totally overwhelming spice, so I used half that amount – and I thought it was perfect.

Chinese Chili

adapted from Florence Fabricant / NY Times

  • 2 pounds lean brisket
  • ¼ cup soy sauce, more to taste
  • ¼ cup hoisin sauce
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 leek, finely chopped
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 large green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 large hot peppers, minced – to taste
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns, crushed in a mortar
  • 2-3 tsp five-spice powder – to taste
  • 12 ounces beer, preferably amber ale
  • 1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon black vinegar
  • 2 cans beans of choice

Cut the meat in 1/2-inch dice. Heat a tbsp of oil in a heavy-bottomed pot with tight-fitting lid.

Add meat and cook until it loses its redness. Transfer meat and any juices to a bowl. Toss with soy sauce and hoisin.

Reduce heat to low, add onions, bell pepper, peppers, garlic and ginger and cook until softened. Add Sichuan peppercorns and five spice, stir, then add beer. Bring to a simmer. Add tomatoes.

Return meat and juices to the pan. Cover and simmer an hour and a half, until the meat is tender.

Stir in vinegar. Add beans and heat through.

I did a drizzle of toasted sesame oil on top and then chopped scallions.

It came out surprisingly good and would make a great dish for a party.