Red Chili Nightmare

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  • 1 cup dried pinto beans
  • 5 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons lard
  • 1 tablespoon bacon drippings
  • 1 onion
  • 12 ounces country-style pork sausage
  • 1 pound beef, coarse grind
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon anise
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 (1-inch) cinnamon stick, ground
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 whole nutmeg, ground
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
  • 4 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 cup blanched almonds, skins removed
  • 12 whole dried red chiles or 1 1/2 cup chile Caribe
  • 1 1/2 ounces milk chocolate, small pieces
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 3 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 soft tortilla, chopped
  • Salt


  1. Place the rinsed beans in a bowl, add 2 to 3 cups of water and soak overnight. Check the beans occasionally and add water as necessary to keep them moist.
  2. Pour the beans and the water in which they were soaked into a heavy saucepan and add 2 to 3 more cups of water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then lower heat and simmer, partially covered, for about 45 minutes, until the beans are cooked but still firm. Check occasionally and add water if necessary. Drain the beans, reserving the cooking liquid.
  3. Melt the lard in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the beans and lightly fry them in the lard. Set aside.
  4. Melt the drippings in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until it is translucent.
  5. Combine the sausage and the beef with all the spices up through the oregano. Add this meat and spice mixture to the pot with the onion. Break up any lumps with a fork and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is very well browned.
  6. Add the reserved bean-cooking liquid to the pot. Stir in all the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and cook, uncovered, for 1/2 hour longer. Stir occasionally. Add water only if necessary to maintain the consistency of a chunky soup.
  7. Taste when curiosity becomes unbearable and courage is strong. Adjust seasonings.

Yield: 4 servings

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