The first time I ever heard of Adirondack Chili was in 2011. Janet and I had stopped at a very interesting little restaurant on County Rd 36 in New York State, and one of the daily specials was Adirondack Chili. What showed up at the table was basically a big bowl of meat in a thin red sauce. No beans, no peppers, just meat…and onions. Until then my chili would be pretty meaty, but it would also have loads of beans, chunks of peppers and corn, so this came as a big surprise. What was a bigger surprise is that I liked my big bowl of meat a lot better and since then I’ve never added beans, and always blend the peppers up.
The biggest benefit to eating chili in the back country, aside from the great taste of my recipes, easy clean up, hydration and the spike in mental well-being is lower fuel consumption along with less kitchen gear, which translates to a lower pack weight and less bulk. In fact most of my back country lunches are soups and stews for all of those reasons
Kitchen Cook Time and Prep: This recipe makes enough chili for 8-10 back country servings and takes about 60 minutes to prepare.
Tools: A large Dutch oven or stock pot to cook with. A blender or food processor for the flavor bomb. In the back country you will need a stove and a pot to boil water. A spoon or spork would be helpful.
Back Country-What to Expect: Expect a hearty satisfying chili with a hit of spice from the No.7 Hot Sauce.
Try this recipe out. Let me know if you have any questions or comments below, and make sure you share this recipe with your friends that love Tex-Mex food and the back country.
Pre-dehydration Weight: 340g/12oz
Post- dehydration Weight: 64g/2.25 oz
Total Weight Savings: 81%
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 6 gloves garlic, peeled
- 1 chipotle pepper, dried
- 1 poblano pepper, dried
- 1 Thai chili, dried
- 1 cup cold water
- 1 cups coffee
- ¼ cup No,7 Adobo Sauce
- 2 tbsp. coconut oil
- 1 lb ground beef or venison
- 1 lb ground pork
- 2 medium onions
- ¼ cup Chili Seasoning
- 28 oz jar home-canned tomatoes
- 12oz beer
- In a large cast iron fry pan over medium heat, heat the dried chilies for 2 minutes on each side. Turn off the heat and then add enough water to the skillet to cover the chilies, and let them soak for half an hour. If you have ever made chili with dried peppers and missed this step you’ll know how important it is. Someone always ends up with a mouth full of the spiciest pepper.
- In a large Dutch oven over medium heat melt half the coconut oil. Turn the heat up a bit, add the meat to the pan and break it up with your spoon or spatula. The mix should sizzle a bit. Keep stirring and prodding for at least 5 minutes, until all the mince is in uniform, mince-sized lumps and there are no more pink bits. Make sure you keep the heat hot enough for the meat to fry and become brown. When done, transfer cooked meat to a metal strainer and rinse under hot water to remove as much fat as possible.
- Meanwhile, add the remaining coconut oil to the heated Dutch Oven and add your onions and cook for 3-5 minutes, until onions become translucent. Add the meat and the chili seasoning mix. Mix well and cook until mixture becomes very fragrant. Turn the heat up to med-high and mix in a 12 oz bottle of beer, preferably a nice local craft stout.
- To make the chili flavor bomb, drain the now rehydrated chilies. In your kick-ass 1960’s blender, puree the chilies along with the garlic, No.7 adobo sauce, chopped green pepper and 1 cup of cold water. Add to Dutch oven. When chili begins to boil, turn heat down to low and let simmer for five hours, stirring occasionally. Taste it once an hour, and if the flavors are too muted, add more salt.
Back country preparation is super easy. First allow the chili to cool down to almost room temperature. Once cool, pour 1½ - 2 cups of mixture onto the drying sheet lined dehydrator tray. Use the meat setting (155-165 degrees) and allow to dry for 10-12 hours, overnight usually will do it. I have found that pork, turkey and chicken all dry and rehydrate faster than beef and venison, but I prefer the flavor of red meats better.
Once completely dry break into to small pieces. Store in zip locks or vacuum seal bags. I store all my back country meals in the freezer to prevent spoiling. Serves 1
NOTE: I like my chili smokin hot, but this isn't the case for my wife and most of the people I hike with (and cook for). Although this recipe is amazing it doesn't have enough kick for me. You could bring your favourite hot sauce into the back country with you, but I've had a sauce leak into my kit before and it was unpleasant. Instead I add a tbsp or two of hot sauce to my serving in the dehydrator.
Back Country Meal Prep
Pour the contents into the pot with 350ml (1½ cups, 12 oz.) of water. Bring to boil and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until it looks like it did before you dehydrated it. Serve.
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