First, take one dragon tongue. Next.... What? The meat case at your supermarket doesn't carry these? And the local butcher gives you the evil eye if you ask for one? Okay. We may need to adapt:
Bitterwood's Dragon Tongue Chili - The Human Age Version:
1 beef tongue, or, if you're squeamish about tongue, 3 pounds of stew beef.
1 pound ground beef
1 pound hot breakfast sausage
1 28oz can of tomatoes
1 40oz can of beans
1 big red onion
Salt and pepper
Various chili peppers.
Sorry to be so vague on the last ingredient. I frequently jump straight for habeneros when I make chili, but I'm one of those mutants who has a stomach lined with asbestos. So, feel free to choose your level of heat by choosing your peppers. For a mild chili with just a little kick, use two or three fresh jalepenos. For a scream-for-Jesus heat, go for five fresh habeneros. If you'd like a complex, smoky heat, canned chipoltle peppers are a good approach. Always keep some powdered cayenne around for last second adjustments if you've gone too mild.
Stage one: Cube your tongue, or your stew beef. Brown it in a skillet with a little oil. Sprinkle on some salt to taste. You aren't actually cooking the beef at this stage, just adding little extra flavor and texture by giving it a bit of a crust. Once you've browned it, transfer it into a large pot and add enough water to cover the meat, plus another inch or two, then bring to a boil The second it reaches a boil, turn it down to a simmer. Some scum may have risen during the boil. Skim it off. Cook the meat for about an hour on low heat, skim it again, then add the big red onion, cut in quarters. Also add the hot peppers of your choice at this stage. For fresh peppers, I just pull of the stem and toss the whole pepper in. Add about a teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of pepper. Then, put the lid back on, make sure every thing is at a low simmer, and walk away.
This is where Bitterwood's dragon-tongue chili recipe ends. It's pretty good, but also pretty simple. Not bland, just lacking complexity. Since we have access to supermarket goodies Bitterwood can't even imagine, we'll add to the chili in stage two.
Stage two: Brown the ground beef and hot pork sausage in a skillet, then drain all the fat. I usually season the ground beef with a different type of pepper to compliment my base pepper from stage one. A whole bottle of Texas Pete is a good approach. If you want a mild heat, just use a few teaspoons of cayenne powder. The pork sausage may at first seem like an odd ingredient, but it gives the chili an extra layer of meat and yet a third source of heat. Once I have this fully cooked, I add it to my stage one chili, stir it all together, then move on to stage 3.
Stage three: The tomatoes and beans. Now, some people, true chili purists, argue you can stop at stage two. Chili is made of meat, and doesn't need any vegetables, except as seasoning. When I posted an early version of this recipe on my other blog, I got emails questioning my manhood for daring to introduce beans into the equation. If you are one of these die-hard chili fundamentalists, just take a few deep breaths, search for the happy place inside, and move on. Moving on: Just open the cans, drain the beans and tomatoes, then dump them in the pot. It ain't brain surgery. Stir everything. Simmer. Taste frequently. Add salt, pepper, cayenne, Texas Pete, etc. until you're happy with it. You can serve it at this stage, or, let it cool overnight in the fridge to let the flavors mingle, then heat it up again the next day.
This recipe serves a LOT of people. A dozen people might just finish off a pot in one sitting. If not, the leftovers freeze well.