new song: “agave blues”, and time for…. chili!

Well now that the Hostess Twinkie has met its ultimate demise (for now) and as we move further into the holiday season – Thanksgiving was a whole week ago, the recent election already seems like months ago – it’s the perfect time to haul out the chili and soup recipes and maybe share one on here, even though it’s still relatively warm in Colorado for this time of year (where’s the snow?). Particularly since we have the annual Candlelight Walk tonight here in downtown Golden and it was requested that I whip up a batch of ‘red’ to go with the white and green chilis we’ll be eating post-walk at a friend’s house. You’ll find the recipe down below, but first…

A new song posted this week: “Agave Blues” from the forthcoming album, “Another Day in Paradox” in 2013 (it’s right around the corner). “Agave…” is kind of surf-y, kind of blues-y, kind of hip-hop, and kind of electronic. This is the home-mastered demo version – as always, the final album version will sound slightly different.

(© 2012 Nights on Venus/Craig C. Thomas. All rights reserved.)

A few more details about the album are known now: it will not be a double album – it will be a single album but a more lengthy one, probably more than 70 minutes containing at least 13 or 14 songs. As I finish up these songs that were recorded during the summer one by one, I’ll make a final decision on what goes on the album by the end of the year. Currently finishing up “Empty Stretch of Road with Sky“… an ‘electronic haiku.’ Release date for the album has been pushed further back into the spring – Erin and I are still hoping to get down to Louisiana for Toddstock II (V. 6.5) in June, which should be a blast… but first…

This is kind of a first for me ’cause I’ve never written down any recipes I work from and tend to be terribly lax and inexact on technical documentation when I cook, but over the years this has become a tried-and-true recipe and you can try this at home. This is a basic mild red chili with still the right amount of heat that is a staple around La Casa NoV during the winter months. Here’s what you’ll need:

60 oz. Petite diced tomatoes
20 oz. Hatch green chilis – 3 hot, 2 mild
3 lbs. of Ground beef
75 oz. Black beans
1/3 cup of Chile Rojo (mild)
2 tbsp. Minced garlic
2 tbsp. Cumin seed
4 tbsp. Chili powder
1/2 oz. of Roasted red pepper olive oil
6 oz. Beer (optional)
6 oz. Red wine (optional)
1 bag of Garden-of-Eatin’ non-GMO tortilla round corn chips
1 Red onion
Cheddar/Monterey jack marbled cheese

In a 6-quart pot, combine the petite diced tomatoes and Hatch green chilis in 5 oz. of water over medium heat. Add 1/3 cup Chile Rojo, 1 tbsp. of minced garlic and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and add the 75 oz. of black beans – if you’re using canned black beans, that’s 5 cans and 2 of those can be the jalapeno and lime juice black beans (Kuner’s). Stir occasionally and cover and simmer.

Meanwhile, in a good-sized skillet, brown the 3 lbs. of ground beef (usually 91% lean) in 1/2 oz. of roasted red pepper olive oil  – you can substitute 3 lbs. of beef tenderloin for a more “upscale” chili. Season with 2 tbsp. Cumin seed, 4 tbsp. of Chili powder, and 1 tbsp. of minced garlic as it cooks. Then add about 6 oz. of red wine – I usually use the Rex-Goliath Free Range Red or a Malbec or Cabernet for more earthiness (plus you’ll just want to have it around to partake of while you’re slaving away at the stove). Finish cooking until oil and wine have been cooked off.

When the beef is done, add it to the pot of chili and stir well. Slowly pour 6 oz. of beer into the pot while stirring – for this batch I used New Belgium’s Abbey Ale, but you can try it with a stout (Guinness) or a hefeweizen (Breckenridge Brewery’s Agave Wheat, sticking with the whole ‘agave’ theme here…. I don’t recommend using an IPA). Cover and simmer for about another 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Finishing touches: crumble up the tortilla rounds and put them in the bowl, chop up the red onion, that goes on top of the chili with the grated cheddar/monterey jack marbled cheese and away you go… enjoy! Serves about 8-12.

“Damn, that is some serious gourmet chili…”

Until next time…

“In 4 the Evening” is the second and current album from Nights on Venus and is available as a digital download on CDBabyiTunesAmazon.mp3Bandcamp and other fine online retailers. On CD through the NoV website.

Follow Craig and NoV on Twitter (@xlntsky) and Facebook.