Sephardic Green Bean Chili

This recipe was devised as an entry in the Agudas Achim Chili Cook-Off of March, 2008 by Kerry Price, David Pinto, Jeff Senyk, and me, otherwise known as "Da Boyz". The organizers of the event insisted that we substitute ground beef for the lamb, and our stock was made from Carmel "kosher beef style soup base". The result was quite serviceable, although it must be reported that the prizes went to more mundane offerings. It is certainly better with lamb.

  • 10 pounds lamb shoulder chops
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 garlic bulbs
  • 30 dried chiles de Arbol
  • 10 dried chipotle chiles
  • 10 dried Guajillo chiles
  • 3 pounds Anaheim peppers
  • 2 pounds jalapeno peppers
  • 3 pounds yellow onions
  • 3 pounds green beans
  • 2 12-ounce bottles dark beer
  • 2 ounces cumin powder
  • 1 ounces dried oregano
  • 1 ounce paprika
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 15 cardamon pods
  • 1/4 cup flour

Remove the meat from the bones and coarsely grind. Put the bones in a small pot and cover with water. Add the carrot, celery, bay leaf, a small onion, and two cloves of garlic. Bring to a boil, skim, reduce the heat, and simmer for an hour. Strain and reserve the stock.

Remove the stems from the dried chiles and simmer in the beer for 30 minutes. Drain the chiles, reserving the beer, and chop into a paste.

Peel the garlic and roast the cloves with a little olive oil in a hot oven until they begin to brown.

Roast the fresh chiles over a gas flame until blackened on all sides. Seal in a paper bag and allow to steam until cool. Remove the stems and seeds and slice thin.

Trim the green beans and cut into 1-inch pieces. Peel the onions and coarsely chop. Briefly sauté the green beans and onions in a large pot with half the spices in olive oil. Remove and set aside.

Brown the meat in the pot with the remaining spices in olive oil. Pour off the fat. Return the sautéed vegetables to the pot along with the roasted chiles and the paste. Add half the beer and stock, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and cover. Simmer for 1 hour, adding more beer and broth as needed. As the chili finishes cooking, dissolve the flour in a cup of the sauce and gradually add to the pot to achieve the desired consistency.

Serve the chili with toasted pita.