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Lamb Chili with Smoked Paprika, Green Olives and Cannellini Beans

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Active Time:  35 Minutes
Total Time:  1 Hour 50 Minutes
  Serves 8
If chili con carne had its start across the border in Mexico (as it seems it did), it's an easy leap to concocting a Spanish-influenced chili featuring lamb (a meat beloved in Spain and Mexico, as well as the American southwest), olives and cannellini beans or creamy marrow beans. A smoky Spanish paprika, made from close relatives of the mild red chiles that are also the basis of prepared chili powder, adds a rich but subtle flavor that makes it worth seeking out. Acknowledge the dish's European touches by topping it with crumbled goat cheese and serving it with crusty bread and a robust Spanish red wine such as Rioja.
RECIPE INGREDIENTS
5 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups chopped onions (from about 2 large)
8 garlic cloves, peeled, finely chopped
3 pounds lean ground lamb (see Note)
6 1/2 tablespoons medium-hot chili powder blend, such as Gebhardt
3 tablespoons smoked Spanish paprika, or any medium-hot imported paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano, crumbled
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 cups canned beef broth
One 28-ounce can, Italian-style plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped, with their juices
3/4 cup dry red wine

3 red bell peppers, stemmed, cored, cut into 1/4-inch wide strips

About 4 cups cooked cannellini beans or
marrow beans, from about 1 1/2 cups dried (see Bean Know-How)
2/3 cup sliced pitted green olives
DIRECTIONS
Heat 3 tablespoons oil in heavy large enameled cast-iron Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and saute 5 minutes. Add lamb and 1 teaspoon salt. Increase heat to high. Saute until meat is uniformly gray and free of lumps, about 10 minutes. Add chili powder, paprika, oregano, cumin, black pepper, cayenne pepper and cinnamon. Saute 3 minutes. Stir in broth, tomatoes with their juices and wine. Bring to boil. Reduce heat. Cover partially and simmer until chili thickens, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour.


Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add bell pepper strips and saute until lightly browned, about 7 minutes.


Stir beans and pepper strips into chili. Cook until very thick, stirring often, about 25 minutes. Stir in olives. Season chili to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately.


DO-AHEAD TIP: If possible, for best flavor, make the chili one day ahead. Reserve the olives. Cool, cover and refrigerate the chili. Rewarm over low heat, stirring often. Thin if necessary with a small amount of water only after the chili is fully heated. Stir in the olives and adjust the seasoning. Serve piping hot.


NOTE: The best meat for this dish will be coarsely ground, called "chili grind" in the southwest. Order lean, well-trimmed lamb from a good butcher, and ask that it go through the grinder only twice, rather than the three times that is typical. During chili's lengthy simmer, regular ground meat becomes unpleasantly mealy, while the chili grind meat survives with more of its nubbly texture intact.


Recipe created exclusively for Cooking.com by Michael McLaughlin.


Recipe reprinted by permission of . All rights reserved.
Date Added: 01/01/2008
Nutrition Facts per Serving
Yield:   Serves 8
Calories: 633
Fat. Total: 27g
Fiber: 12g
Carbohydrates, Total: 47g
Sodium: 782mg
% Cal. from Fat: 38%
Cholesterol: 62mg
Protein: 48g
Spotlight Recipe Review See all 1 reviews »

Rating: 5
by: Marthe, FL Reviewed: 10/08/2009
Raves for the lamb chili!
I was intrigued with the recipe calling for ground lamb, so I made a pot of the chili this week. The results are simply fantastic! All the ingredients were perfectly balanced to produce a consistent and smooth flavor. The only thing that I changed was to use canned cannellini beans, and it took 3 cans to be balanced with the other ingredients. Thank you for a wonderful new recipe!
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