What would convert this chili recipe into a Russian chili?

Vladimir Oselsky
  • What would convert this chili recipe into a Russian chili? Vladimir Oselsky

    Not sure exactly how to ask this. I was looking for a Russian Chili Recipe, and being from Siberia myself I never really encountered it before. Therefore I took a traditional recipe and modified it a little to make it more like a Russian dish. Here is my recipe that I cooked for my company's chili cook-off. I want to hear some suggestions and opinions on this recipe.

    My question is:

    Has anyone ever heard of a Russian Chili Recipe, and if so could this recipe qualify as Russian?

    Ingredients

    • 2 pounds ground beef
    • ½ pound of ground chicken
    • ½ pound of ground pork
    • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 2 cups beef broth
    • ½ cup of 2% milk
    • 1 15 oz can red pinto beans (drain)
    • 1 15 oz can black beans (drain)
    • 3 fresh tomatoes (cut to small chunks)
    • 1 15 oz can tomato sauce
    • 1 6 oz can tomato paste
    • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
    • 2 large onions, diced finely
    • 1 large green bell pepper, diced finely
    • 6 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 1 tablespoons cumin, ground
    • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
    • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
    • 1 teaspoon black pepper, ground
    • 4 Habanero peppers, seeded diced finely
    • 4 chipotle peppers, seeded diced finely

    Directions

    1. In a large pot, heat the brown the ground beef, pork and chicken, making sure to continuously break up large pieces with a spoon or spatula. Once browned drain fat off of ground meat. Return the ground meat to the pot.
    2. Add onions and green bell pepper to the ground meat and cook over medium heat with stirring until the onions are soft and translucent.
    3. Add the garlic, cumin, sugar, thyme, cayenne powder, oregano, and black pepper. Heat over medium heat with stirring for 12 minutes.
    4. Pour in the beef broth, milk. Add pinto beans, black beans, cream cheese, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, cider vinegar, chipotle, chili and habanero peppers. Stir to mix well.
    5. Reduce heat to low and simmer for at least 2 hours before serving or refrigerating. Footnotes Crack Pot Alternative: After step 4 you can pour chili in crock pot and cook it on medium for 6 hours.

    Notes

    It is best to have all ingredients ready to go before starting the process. Do not wait to dice onions or peppers. Get everything ready to go and then start the process. In addition, cutting chili peppers by hand can result in hands "catching on fire." It is best to use a grinder or something other than hands. If you do use your hands, please make sure to scrub your hands and wash with soap before you touch anything (like your mouth or your eyes). Even though this recipe calls for Chili and Habanero peppers in the end it becomes about medium spicy but with strong pepper flavor.

    Please Note: Directions are taken from a traditional beef chili recipe and modified to accommodate custom ingredients.

  • I'm going to go ahead and phrase my comment in the form of an answer (just so there's something to accept or up/down moderate). My vote is for some form of beet. The more I think about it, the more I like the idea and think I'll try it myself when I get a chance. (I actually feel a little chagrin at claiming the idea since @SaUce mentioned borsch first. And who really owns an idea anyway. Well, except for Paul Allen and Nathan Myhrvold.)

    Anywho, lots of chili recipes use a little chocolate or even coffee in small amounts to add an earthiness and complexity to chili. I think the beet could do the same. Personally, I wouldn't leave it in big chunks. If I was using fresh beets, I'd dice or even shred them possibly. Or, another alternative would be to use beet powder, which would contribute sweetness and some beet flavor while acting as a mild thickening agent at the same time.

    This could even inspire a new Russo-Latin fusion cuisine movement. Maybe I'll patent it after all. ;)

  • I think you've got a wide berth of possibilities but what's above seems pretty restricted. What you are listing above sounds like a pretty straight-forward Midwestern American chili. It has the features of the standard chili spices, beans and tomatoes, with a nice variety of meats.

    As @Cold suggests, beets would be great to add for their sugar content. However, there are quite a few American recipes that utilize potatoes, so you might seek those out. Are there other vegetables to substitute that you recall as more native? Other beans maybe? How about caraway, dill, chervil, tarragon?

    Vodka would seem like an easy route to go to appease the indigenous aspect, but I don't think it would yield much results in terms of impacting the flavor; especially in the context of the extant chili recipe. Unfortunately, I can't see the benefit of buffeting vodka against the flavors of cumin, coriander, clove, let alone hot peppers. On the other hand, Russians produce some amazing beers (I am a big fan of Baltika), and I would recommend looking into switching to a lager flavor or Imperial Stout as I mentioned above.

    But for real, my spin would be to approach this from a Solyanka point of view (which would definitely give you ceiling room to try incorporating Medovukha); or really any of the other amazing cold Russian soups. Or perhaps try to incorporate mini dumplings like Pelmani, mini Kotlety, or use Shashlyk-style prepared meats for the chili. I would also consider trying to get some lamb in the recipe, in particular at the expense of the chicken.

    But don't forget, chili is all about what you want to put into it (<-- self-promotional plug); not what the standard template lists.

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