Whatever your walk of life, there are things that speak to you.  It can be people, music, or even food.  As a self-proclaimed wannabe foodie, that last one grabs me more often than not.  I frequently have the Food Network playing in the background while I work because although I may not be watching any show in particular, I hear various tips and tricks that somehow get filed away into my subconscious to be spontaneously recalled later while I tweak a recipe.

So with the gluttony of food that accompanies the holidays, I found inspiration with an idea from one of Sandra Lee’s shows “Money Saving Meals.”  She introduces her main dish in the show, but then she has a second dish created from leftovers.  Think about it – how many times do you make far too much food for a holiday meal and eat leftovers until you are just tired of it?  We do it EVERY SINGLE TIME!  It occurred to me around Thanksgiving that my sisters usually made a macaroni soup in a turkey broth the day after Thanksgiving dinner and the kids all loved it, but I wanted a more adult version, so off I went in search of a turkey soup recipe.  I hit the jackpot when I found a recipe for Turkey Vegetable Soup with Stuffing Dumplings, courtesy of Wes Martin.  So easy and very adaptable to chicken instead of turkey, which brings me to repurposing my next holiday meal – the Christmas standing rib roast.

We overestimated the size of the roast needed, but I’m so glad that we did.  First of all, cooking it as we did, the meat was still moist and juicy, even through the reheating process.  It took a few days of eating aged rib roast, but we finally hit the tilting point of too much of a good thing.  So I browsed through the various nooks and crannies of my brain and found that a chilli would be just the thing for a cold and rainy day – Chilli Colorado to be exact.  I think it was Bobby Deen who said that you should try a recipe first, but then don’t be afraid to put your own spin on it.  I’ve made enough chilis to know what I like, so I skipped the first step and went straight to experimenting.  Here’s what I came up with…

Ingredients
2-3 lbs. leftover rib roast
1/2 cup flour
4 tablespoons rendered fat from rib roast
5 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
6 ounces tomato paste
1 tablespoon of creamy peanut butter
1 bottle of dark beer
Salt and pepper
Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
 

Render excess fat from the roast in a pot with a heavy bottom over medium-low heat until you have about 4 tablespoons of fat, then remove any remaining chunks of fat.  In the meanwhile, cube the remainder of the roast into 1/2 inch squares (about 2 lbs).  Coat the meat with flour, shaking off the excess.  The flour will help to thicken up the chilli.  Brown the meat in the rendered fat.

Add a bottle of dark beer to bring up any bits sticking to the bottom of the pan.  Add water as needed if it gets too thick while you are adding the spices.  Chop the chipotle peppers (add more if you prefer a spicier flavor) and combine with the peanut butter, spices, and tomato paste into the chilli.  Bring this to a simmer taking care to turn the heat down if it starts boiling.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  I adjusted the spices at this point to my taste preference.  From here you just have to wait (1 to 2 hours) and fight off the urge to pick at it until it is done.  How do you know when it’s done?  It’s ready if it falls apart when you take a piece of meat and mash it on the cutting board with a fork.  Oh, almost forgot – save yourself the heartburn and skim the excess fat off the top before serving.  Top it with shredded extra sharp cheddar and a dollop of sour cream.  That dollop of sour cream added a wonderful tangy flavor to the mix.  I served this with a zinfandel from a local vineyard (St. Frances old vines zinfandel, napa, CA) and it stood up nicely to the heartiness of the chilli.  Enjoy!

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