Cooking Chili in an Oven?
Chili is a perennial favorite. At the request of a customer, we tested the feasibility of using a CHV oven alone to cook beer chili. The challenge was to see if a small kitchen with just a CVap Cook and Hold Oven could successfully pull this off. Spoiler Alert – yes it can!
Random Chili Factoids
Chili has a murky history. Several sources claim credit for this spicy concoction. Like many “ethnic” dishes popular in the US, chili seems to be uniquely American. The common consensus seems to be that it originated in Texas, as a dish that was cheap to make. Therefore it enabled folks to feed many mouths with relatively little meat.
The Good, The Bad, and the CINO
There are many popular variations of chili – nearly all are delicious. We will not speak of the abomination that is “Cincinnati style” chili – it’s CINO (chili in name only). Yes, we did make up that acronym. Feel free to make it a buzz word.
This beer chili recipe came from our customer. It is delicious. You WILL want to try it!
The Bean Base
- 16-oz. Dried Pinto Beans
- 4-oz. Chopped Garlic
- 128-oz. Water
The bean base was cooked overnight in a CHV5-05UV oven, preheated to 200°F Vapor Temp/250°F Air Temp. This gave the dried beans ample time to soften. In addition, the garlic infused the liquid with its flavor.
Subsequently we divided the bean base in half the next day, using two 4” hotel pans.
Beer Chili Meat
- 24-oz. (two 12-oz pkgs) Turkey Bacon
- 2T + 2tsp Onion Powder
- 2T + 2tsp Ground Coriander
- 1T + 1tsp Dried Chipotle Peppers
- 4T Ground Chili Powder
- 6-lbs. Ground Beef
- 10 each, 16-oz. cans Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes
- 4 each, 29-oz. cans Tomato Sauce
- 4 each, 12-oz bottles Beer
- Salt and Pepper to taste
We used two separate channels to cook the different elements of the beer chili.
- Channel 1 – Cook Time Infinite / Vapor OFF / Air 350°F / High Yield OFF.
This channel browned the meat, turkey bacon, and seasonings. We wanted to create a dry environment, with the water in the evaporator only contributing passive vapor to the oven.
- Channel 2 – Cook Time Infinite / Vapor 200°F / Air 350°F / High Yield OFF
This was for the final cook of the chili (and retherming the beans).
Start PROGRAM #1:
- PREHEAT two 4” full hotel pans in the CHV oven while the oven is preheating (trust us, this will speed the cooking process). Above all, we were trying to leverage every bit of heat energy we could, since this will be the only piece of equipment in the customer’s kitchen.
- Add three pounds of ground beef, breaking up a bit by hand, into each of the HOT pans, taking a minute or two to break up the meat with a spoon, spatula, or gloved hand. After that, return the pans to the heated oven for another 10 to 15 minutes.
- Remove pans, break up the meat more. Subsequently return to the oven for an additional 10-15 minutes.
- While the ground beef is browning, combine the sliced turkey bacon and seasonings into two containers (keeping in mind that we’re making two batches of chili).
- Remove the pans of ground beef, break up the meat again, add the turkey bacon and seasonings, mix thoroughly. After that, return to the oven for another 10-15 minutes.
- Remove the pans of cooked ground beef.
- Finally, end Program #1.
Start PROGRAM #2
- Combine both pans of cooked meats and seasonings into a single pan.
- Subequently, in the newly empty 4” pan, deglaze with ALL the beer, tomato sauce, and diced fire roasted tomatoes.
- Return both pans to the oven. No need to wait for the oven to fully preheat to program #2 presets.
- Continue to cook both pans for about an hour. As a result, the meat and seasonings will add color and meld flavors. In addition, the liquid ingredients will come up to temperature and start to merge flavors.
- Remove both pans and combine into a single pan. Mix thoroughly.
Divide and Conquer
- Divide the completed pans of chili into two. We wanted to decrease the thermal load in the oven and cook more quickly.
- Return both pans of chili back into the oven to cook for a final hour.
- Finally, divide the beans base that cooked overnight into the beer chili.
- The completed recipe spent about an additional hour in the oven, until the temperature measured at least 180°F. The elevated air temperature allowed some evaporation to occur, which thickened the chili just a bit, and enhanced the flavor.
In conclusion, the results were great! We were successful in proving that beer chili could indeed be prepared in a single oven. Consequently, we got to enjoy a few bowls of some butt-kicking chili!