Dear SOS: Friends and I happened into Smitty's in Pasadena, Calif., after the theater recently. It was a perfect night for their signature chili and corn bread specials. Not your ground beef variety, the chili seemed to be prepared with flank steak, and the corn bread was the best ever. Any chance you could wheedle their secret for your readers? -- Bonnie Cohn, Hermosa Beach, Calif.
Dear Bonnie: Smitty's was happy to share its recipe for its rich and hearty chili and corn bread, which we've adapted.
Smitty's Steak Chili
Makes 10 to 12 servings. Total time: 2 1/2 hours. Adapted from Smitty's Grill in Pasadena, Calif.
2/3 cup corn oil
2 onions, chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 shallots, minced
2 jalapeños, minced
2 tablespoons ancho chile powder
2 tablespoons New Mexico chile powder
1/4 cup dried oregano
3 tablespoons cumin
4 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 chipotle chilies (canned in adobo sauce), minced (about 1 tablespoon)
3 14.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes
3 cups beef broth
4 pounds flap meat, cut into large dice
HEAT in a large, heavy-bottomed pot the oil over medium heat until hot.
STIR in the onions, garlic, shallots and jalapeños and sauté until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the ancho and New Mexico chile powders, the oregano, cumin and salt, along with the tomato paste, chipotle chilies and tomatoes. Add the beef broth and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.