Our Green Salsa

Aside

We have customers asking us every day about the processes we use to make all of our food from scratch.  But one of the most asked-about items from our kitchen has to be our green salsa. You can usually find us making it about three times a week, with the just-roasted Anaheim chilies cooling, and piles of cilantro and scallions going into the food processor.  Here it is for easy reference.

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You will need:

  • 2 lbs Anaheim chilies (a moderately spicy green pepper with a pleasant sweetness. You can substitute more common Poblanos mixed with sweet Cubanelles to achieve a similar flavor)
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 bunch green scallions
  • Approx 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • salt

Preheat the oven to 400 F.  Toss the Anaheims with a
splash of canola oil and roast until the skins blister and
blacken, about 30-45 minutes.  Place them in a bowl
and cover with a plate or plastic wrap for about
fifteen minutes to allow the steam to loosen
skins. When the peppers are cool enough to touch, remove the flesh, discarding the skin and the seeds.

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Chop the cilantro and the scallions and add these, along with the roasted chilies to a blender, adding the 1/2 cup of vinegar.  Pulse for about 30 seconds until a proper consistency is reached. If necessary you can add more liquid (vinegar, or a splash of water). Add salt to taste.

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This recipe yields about a quart of salsa.

 

Texas Style Beef Chili – Myths Debunked!

At the Brass Buckle, we have no “secret recipes”.  There’s nothing secretive about the way we make our food; if you come in you’ll often see us hard at work in the steps of preparing almost every component of our entire menu from scratch, and we’ll never shy away from sharing with you our recipes, techniques, or things we’ve learned along the way.

But today, I’ll share a secret with you, and only because it seems that hardly anyone here in Massachusetts understands the truth – THERE ARE NO BEANS IN CHILI.

Or at least, not in a proper Texas Chili.  Don’t get me wrong, beans are great!  But in this Texas Style Beef Chili recipe, you will notice a lack of nonsense ingredients, such as chocolate, coffee, weird vegetables or grains…basically anything that might distract you from the true beef flavor, you don’t want it.  It might seem a little crazy, but it’s true.  So, presented to you here, today, is a walkthrough of how we make our Texas Style Beef Chili – there are a lot of little steps that may seem silly or strange, but trust me, the end result is magnificent, best enjoyed with a chunk of cornbread and a sunset, if you’ve got it.

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 First off, your ingredients (keep in mind, the pictures you see here are for the restaurant, a little more than double what this recipe calls for):

2 lbs. beef chuck, cut into half-inch cubes
1 lb. beef brisket, cubed
1 med. white onion, diced
2 T. chili powder (we make our own, and you should too, but GOOD QUALITY store-bought is fine. remember, this is BEEF. CHILI.)
1-2 jalapenos, seeded and finely diced  (if you’re nuts about the heat, you can add something crazy like a ghost pepper)
1 T garlic powder
1 T ground cumin
1 lb. roasted, quartered plum tomatoes OR 1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 cup masa harina (a corn flour used for making tortillas – you can substitute 1 cup crushed corn tortilla chips)
1 bottle pale beer, such as Narragansett

The first step is to take the cubed meat and toss it in a bowl with a splash of canola oil, salt and pepper to taste.  Working in batches, and using the pot you plan to make the chili in, brown the beef over medium high heat.  Set aside and add the onions to the pan, stirring to break up any bits of beef stuck to the bottom of the pan, and sauté for 8 minutes, or until they turn translucent.   Add the ground spices and jalapeno and stir to incorporate. IMG_20130418_140545At this point your pan should have working a strong, flavorful base of onions cooking in beef fat and juices; the spices you’ve just added are marrying with the onions and developing their flavor; the aroma wafting up should be making you hungry, but WAIT! This next step is pretty fun.  Stir in the masa harina or the corn chips, the beer and the tomatoes.  This will bubble up and thicken and will serve as the liquid base for the chili.
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Seems skimpy, huh?  You’re worried there’s not going to be enough liquid, and that’s okay! But give us a second here.  Add the beef to the pot and give that a stir, how does it look?  It should be thick, for sure, but there needs to be enough liquid so that through its long cooking time there’s enough moisture to simmer and bubble and reduce to a lovely consistency.  If you’re feeling the need for a little more liquid, go ahead – add some more beer, tomatoes, water, or beef stock, but not too much!!   Turn the heat down – WAY DOWN –  and put the lid on.  We’re going to let this sit for about two and a half hours with occasional stirring to let these tough cuts of meat soften to a fall-apart consistency.  If the temperature is too high, the meat will seize up and be tough.  If it’s low enough, this stuff should fall apart at the slightest touch, and that’s the ideal. IMG_20130418_140827

And here you can rest…for a while.  The chili, sadly, won’t be ready for some time.   If it were up to me, I’d have you take that chili once it was done, and let it sit in the fridge overnight. When it gets reheated the next day, the flavors have had more time to settle and I find the heat of the chilies to be less severe.  But if you just can’t help it, now’s a good time to make yourself a batch of cornbread.  I’ve got my favorite recipe, do you???

Fancy Dinner Series

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The first two are behind us, but have you heard of our “Fancy Dinners”?

Serving Breakfast and Lunch all the time is great – we get up early, see the sun rise, drink coffee with the A.M. regulars, get in a good day’s work and go home with plenty of time to fill up the afternoon and evening. But even so, we couldn’t help but go for it and give ourselves a bunch more to do in the form of intermittent, crazy-menu B.Y.O.B. dinners at the restaurant.

We chose to hold these special events on Mondays, an atypical ‘fancy night out’, but perfect for our friends in the restaurant biz who often find that their favorite places are closed on that day.  So far, the style we’ve chosen for our dinners is inspired by small-plates/sharing-style restaurants like Toro (in Boston), Momofuku (in New York) and The Girl and the Goat (in Chicago).  It’s a great way to get people excited about trying all different kinds of dishes, and when friends order something totally great you wished you had picked, the sharing really helps cut away at that “Restaurant Ordering Jealousy Syndrome” that we all face from time to time.

The cool thing about the occasional nature of these Dinners is that we have a lot to play around with; we’ve learned something new each time we’ve hosted a special event at the restaurant, and the time in between events allows us to sit and think about how we can adjust elements of the experience to make it all the more memorable. The variables can all be changed!  We’ve already seen that our nighttime Taco Parties can be fun, and that people love an a la carte menu featuring our usual wacky flavor combinations, but what’s next? Maybe we’ll do a prix fixe tasting menu that showcases the flavors of our Southern roots, or an Americanized dim sum experience like they’re doing at State Bird Provisions in San Francisco.  Maybe Fancy Dinner #3 will be “Dinner and a Movie”…who knows?  What matters here is that we’re constantly thinking of new ways to get people excited (and that includes ourselves!) about eating out, and having a good time in the company of friends.

Keep an eye on our Facebook page for further updates!

 

-jd