Vail valley chili recipes |

Vail valley chili recipes

HL Chophouse Chili DT 120-7-08

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” Local chefs debunk a few myths about chili with the recipes below. The first assumption is that beans are an essential ingredient. In fact, Texans pride themselves on their beanless chili (see the recipe from Jay McCarthy, the corporate chef at the Beaver Creek Chophouse).

The other myth about chili is that it has to be served piping hot. But as Riley Romanin, executive chef for Foxnut in Beaver Creek, proves with his recipe, it can taste great chilled.

With football season in full swing, consider trying one of these unique chilis from local chefs.

McCarthy created this simple recipe for a chefs’ class he taught on beef. He picked ingredients that are easy to find nearly anywhere in the world. The recipe calls for using beef round, but you can substitute pork, wild game or any type of protein, McCarthy said.

“You can throw everything in a Crock Pot in the morning and when friends come over that night, you don’t have to mess with it,” he said.

To spice up the dish, he likes to add ancho chilis (dried, dark red chilis that taste like spicy sun-dried tomatoes) or roasted poblano (a green, fresh version of the ancho chili that packs a spicy, meaty flavor). When he has leftovers, he mixes the chili with cheese to make a queso dip.

Beef Chili

Courtesy of Jay McCarthy, corporate chef for the Beaver Creek Chophouse

2 pounds beef round, cubed

2 tablespoons bacon drippings

5 teaspoons seasoning mix (see below)

2 cups onion, diced

1 tablespoon chipotle chile canned in adobo (adobo is tomato and vinegar sauce)

1 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes

1/2 cup cilantro

For the seasoning mix:

3 tablespoons chili powder

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons garlic powder

3/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon cayenne


3 Ancho chilis or 3 roasted poblano chilis

In a bowl, shake together the ingredients in the seasoning mix, and set aside.

Saute the beef and onions in a large heavy Dutch skillet over high heat until beef is cooked through, stirring often and breaking up beef with the back of a spoon, for about 10 minutes. Add cumin, chili powder, garlic powder and chipotle peppers (*). Saute three minutes. Mix in 2 1/2 cups water and all but two tablespoons of the cilantro. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover partially and cook for 1 1/2 hours, adding more water if necessary if the chili becomes dry. Season with salt and pepper.

Add remaining cilantro to chili. Garnish with sour cream, cheese and additional chopped onions.

* Optional: Add the chilis. If you add ancho chilis, prepare them in one of two ways. Toast them and pulverize them in a coffee mill or spice grinder to make a powder; or chop them up and heat them in water or tomato juice until the mixture boils, then blend into a paste.

If you add toasted poblano, prepare as follows. Roast them until charred, then peel them, remove the seeds and dice.

Serves 4

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Start to finish time: 2 hours

Sushi chef Riley Romanin proves chili doesn’t have to be hot to be good with this chilled chili. Made with seared ahi tuna instead of meat, and edamame instead of traditional beans, this chili won’t weigh you down.

“It’s refreshing,” said Romanin, the executive chef at Foxnut in Beaver Creek. “It’s nice and light. It’s not going to be a really heavy chili.”

Although the list of ingredients is long, Romanin said the dish takes just 30 minutes to make. Freshies in Edwards stocks the yuzu juice and panko (Japanese bread crumbs), while City Market in Vail carries Sambal oelek (Asian food aisle) and wonton skins (produce aisle). Sushi-grade tuna can be found at Cut in Edwards. The chilled chili concept comes from McCarthy, who wanted to reinvent a cold tomato and fish dish he once tasted in South Korea.

Seared Ahi Chilled Chili

Courtesy of Riley Romanin, executive chef at Foxnut

For the chili:

3 roma tomatoes, roughly chopped

1 cucumber, roughly chopped

2 cloves garlic

1/4 cup yellow onion, chopped

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon Sambal oelek (condiment made from chili peppers)

1 tablespoon dark chili powder

1 teaspoon togarashi shichimi (can substitute crushed red pepper flake that has been finely ground in a coffee mill or with rock mortar and pestle)

1 teaspoon toasted cumin

1 teaspoon oregano, dried

2 cups tomato juice

1/4 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)

For the fish:

1/4 cup shelled edamame

8 ounces sushi grade tuna, seared and cut into 1/4-inch cubes

1/4 cup cucumber, seeded and diced

1/4 cup diced avocado, reserve other half for garnish

1/8 cup macadamia nut, roasted and diced

1/2 tablespoon sesame seeds

3/4 tablespoon soy sauce

1/2 tablespoon sesame seed oil

1 teaspoon yuzu juice

For the garnish:

1 cup wonton skins, shredded and flash fried until crispy

1/4 cup sour cream

1/2 tablespoon prepared wasabi

1 teaspoon water

Rinse all produce well and dry. Place tomatoes, cucumber, garlic, onion, vinegar, sambal, chili powder, cumin, oregano and tomato juice in a blender. Start blender on slow setting and slowly adjust to highest setting. Once pureed smooth, add panko until desired consistency. Season with salt to taste.

Preheat sauce pan on high. Season tuna lightly with salt and togarashi. Once pan is hot, place 1 teaspoon of sesame oil in pan. Add tuna, searing for 15 seconds on each side. Cool and cut into cubes.

For wasabi creme fraiche, in a small mixing bowl combine sour cream, water and wasabi. Wisk until wasabi is thoroughly incorporated. In a stainless steel mixing bowl combine edamame, tuna, cucumber, diced avocado, macadamia nuts, sesame seeds, soy sauce, sesame oil and yuzu juice. Gently toss together ingredients.

In serving bowl, place ring mold (or shot glass) in center of bowl. Fill ring mold with tuna mixture. Press firmly on top so it holds together. Remove ring mold. Ladle soup around tuna and place wonton strips carefully on top of tuna tower. Slice remaining avocado and fan on top of wontons. Last garnish with wasabi creme fraiche.

High Life Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 970-748-2938 or

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