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David Durk, whose career in law enforcement has spanned 23 years and included a stint as the partner of the famous Frank Serpico, purports to have served this atomic chili to tight-lipped prisoners and potential informers, many of whom he claims "would never talk to a New York Cop." How soon after consumption did they start gabbing? "Immediately," he laughs.
2 to 3 large onions, chopped
4 large garlic cloves, minced
3 to 4 small Indian green chiles, chopped, or 4 jalapeno chiles, chopped (including the seeds), or 3 tablespoons extra-hot ground dried chiles
3 tablespoons peanut oil
3 pounds lean chopped sirloin
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon ground coriander
3 tablespoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 teaspoon dried Greek oregano
2 cans (28 ounces each) imported Italian whole plum tomatoes
4 bay leaves
2 cans (16 ounces each) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 bunch cilantro or Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, rinsed and chopped.
1. In a large heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, sautS the onions, garlic, and chiles in the oil until the onions are translucent, 5 minutes.
2. Crumble the chopped sirloin over the top of the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper; stir in the coriander, cumin, thyme, and oregano. Cover and cook until the meat is cooked through, about 7 minutes.
3. Pour the tomatoes into a small bowl and coarsely crush with your hands. Pour the tomatoes and juice on top of the chili mixture. Stir in the bay leaves. Cover or leave uncovered, depending on the consistency you prefer (a covered pot with yield a thicker chile), and simmer until the flavors are well married, about 30 minutes.
4. Stir in the pinto beans and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and simmer for another 5 minutes. Serve at once.
Serves 8 to 10
Subhir's Aloo Parantha
Subhir Seth learned to make this bread in the Khyber Pass on the border of West Afghanistan and North Pakistan. He recommends serving it as a first course with cumin-flavored yogurt for dipping.
3 ½ cups whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
½ teaspoon salt
1 pound potatoes
1/3 cup minced fresh cilantro
teaspoon gound cumin
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
About 1 cup vegetable oil
1. To make the bread: Combine the flour, vegetable oil, salt, and 1 ½ cups water in a large bowl. Knead to make a smooth dough, about 5 minutes. Divide the dough into 10 equal balls. Place the dough on a tray and set aside to rest in a cool place while you make the stuffing.
2. To make the stuffing: Boil the potatoes in salted water until soft, 30 minutes. Drain and allow to cool slightly.
3. Peel the potatoes, then rice or mash them by hand in a bowl. Stir in the cilantro, chile, cumin, ginger, and salt. Divide the mixture into 10 equal balls.
4. Use your finger to make a deep indentation in each of the dough balls. Place some of the stuffing in each and seal the dough over the stuffing. On a lightly floured board, use a rolling pin to gently flatten each stuffed dough into an 8-inch disk.
5. To cook: Place a griddle or cast-iron skillet over medium heat and coat with 1 tablespoon of the oil. When the oil is hot, place 1 bread in the pan and fry for 1 minute on each side. Sprinkle the bread with additional oil and fry for another minute on each side. Continue frying the breads one at a time, with additional oil. Srve immediately.
Makes 10 paranthas