Chili and Chocolate!
posted September 28, 2010 10:26 AM   RSS | iCal | +googleCal

Sat October 2 at 12:00 PM, Brooklyn Botanic Garden
900 Washington Ave, Brooklyn, NY, USA (Map & Directions)
I'll be in a cookoff on Saturday at the Chile Pepper Fiesta, held in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Tickets (for the entire day, not just for my cookoff thing) are fifteen bucks (or ten if you're a student or senior). I'm making savory little beefy things, and they will be delicious! Also beer will be there, and I will be drinking that beer, you betcha. And music! And demonstrations! And a tattoo parlor! (PDF of all events, click and BE AMAZED)
posted by Greg Nog to Exhibition (12 comments total)

It sounds so fun and delicious and right in my backyard and I'll be out of town! :(
posted by Salamandrous at 11:52 AM on September 28, 2010

Yay! I just got back from Cuba this weekend, and after 10 days of Cuban hotel food, I am very much in need of savory spicy things.
posted by oh yeah! at 4:36 AM on September 29, 2010

I was planning on going to the Botanic Garden this weekend anyway to test out my new camera and some film for the old one. Didn't know this was happening. It's not taking over the entire grounds is it? I might be there trying to document the festivities or folks may run into me lurking about the grounds outside of the celebration........*looks at pdf*

.....O.M.G. The Mast Brothers are going to be there?! Wait, before I swoon from the sheer Amish-looking chocolate maker hotness, will they actually be there or just a rep =( ?
posted by kkokkodalk at 11:29 AM on September 29, 2010

oh me droogs these beef molé trigona I made are just lovely, y'all need to break off a piece
posted by Greg Nog at 6:28 AM on October 2, 2010

On my way to the PATH train now, hope there's a piece left for me when I make it to Brooklyn.
posted by oh yeah! at 7:52 AM on October 2, 2010

Greg, where is your booth situated? I'm at the garden by the Lilly pool chocolate booths.
posted by oh yeah! at 9:19 AM on October 2, 2010

posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:45 PM on October 2, 2010

posted by Greg Nog at 7:20 AM on October 3, 2010

posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:04 PM on October 3, 2010


Photos of the day!
A little thing on Serious Eats!

And the FULL RECIPE, as I sent it to the Serious Eats author:

So as far as my trigona goes, there are a few different stages of the recipe – I guess I'll break it down as follows:

- beef confit
- mole sauce
- trigona
- cream sauce

The recipe below is about a quarter of what I made, but even still, this'll give you about 150 trigona.

I basically built the recipe around my thinking that the rich dark velvety flavor and texture of tender shredded beef would go mighty well with chocolate and chili. Since a beef/chili/chocolate combo was likely to be mushy, I thought it was probably going to benefit from some kind of crispy outer shell. And I figured that since the beef would be savory and the shell would be salty/oily, it could probably also use a bit of sweetness, so I should put a dollop of some kind of sweet cream on top.

With that in mind, I decided to start by confiting some beef (confit's my favorite way to make cheap crappy meat tender and palatable!), adding some mole sauce, then deep-frying globules of that. The deep-frying didn't work so well (the globules didn't stay crisp for the amount of time it would have taken to get from my kitchen through the end of the cookoff), so I went with my backup plan - using phyllo dough to make trigona (little Greek triangular pastries! My mom's side of the family is Greek, and the smell of phyllo and butter pastries in the oven always brings back lovely memories of Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, and pretty much any other event where my family gets together to eat massive amounts of pita). For the mole sauce, I went with an extremely simple recipe from Paula Deen, then messed around with the ingredients a bit until I got something that would match up with the beef better. For the cream sauce, I pretty much just imagined some flavors I wanted to hit (tart, citrusy, sweet, spicy), then built the actual recipe around my vague ideas.

The full process for maybe 150 trigona is as follows:


4.5 pounds of beef (whatever's cheapest; I used chuck for stew, I think)
2 small cinnamon sticks
1/2 Tbsp allspice
1/2 Tbsp whole cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
4 tsp black peppercorns
5 cloves garlic
4 tsp oregano
1 tsp dry mustard
1 Tbsp paprika
2 Tbsp salt

Enough lard to cover the beef in a pot -- maybe 2 cups? (I used pork lard and some bacon grease, but if you don't have enough rendered animal fat in the fridge, you can use some olive oil to make up the difference)

1. Cut up beef into cubes, about 1.5 inches a side.
2. In a spice grinder or coffee grinder, grind the cinnamon, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, peppercorns.
3. Mince garlic and add to the spices.
4. Add the oregano, mustard, paprika, and salt to the spices.
5. Toss the beef chunks in the spices so that all pieces are well-covered.
6. Put beef in large pot or slow cooker, then put the lard on top, and turn up the heat! The lard should melt and start bubbling.
7. Turn down heat so that the molten fat is at a low simmer, and let it cook for at least a few hours. I usually let it go overnight, in a slow cooker set up in my bathroom so that my cats can't get at it.
8. After the beef's been cooking in fat for a while, use a slotted spoon or ladle or metal sieve to get the chunks of beef out -- put them in a container that's resistant to high heat (I use a giant metal can), then pour the molten fat over the beef to cover.
9. You may have a little hot fat left -- great! Save it in the freezer, and you can reuse it the next time you make confit. Once you've got your beef and fat in the container, put it in the fridge. It'll last there for a heck of a long time, like a month, at least -- the hot boiling fat kills microorganisms, and pouring it over the beef seals it away from contaminants in the air. And the flavors develop nicely while it's being stored, so you can feel free to do this a few weeks in advance.


1 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 t ground cumin
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t ground gloves
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
3 ounces coconut milk
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 chipotle peppers, chopped (if using chipotles from a can, set aside the can's fluid for later)
10 ounces chicken broth
2 Tbsp peanut butter
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate

1. Heat oil in a big pot over medium heat.
2. Chop onion, then add it to the hot oil; saute until translucent.
3. Add garlic and spices to pan, saute for an additional couple of minutes.
4. Add the diced tomatoes, coconut milk, peppers, chipotles, broth, peanut butter, and chocolate, letting it all melt together and become thick.
5. Simmer for 10 minutes.
6. In a blender, puree the mixture until smooth.


For the filling, melt the confit back down and fry it in its own fat, in a large shallow saucepan (you may have to do this in several batches. Cook it until the beef falls apart into shreds as you stir it, and gets well-browned. Set it aside in a metal colander, and let any excess fat drip into another container. (As always, with any molten animal fat that's been well-heated, I like to save this excess fat in the freezer for later. Animal fat adds killer flavor to just about anything. Ever fried slices of tofu in bacon grease? Wicked tasty, my friend.)

Now mix the browned shredded beef and the mole sauce in a big pot -- that's your filling!

Now we can make it into trigona. Instead of trigona, you can use the beef/mole mixure as a filling for egg-roll wrappers, deep fried. Or for samosas, deep-fried! Or covered in flour and egg batter, deep-fried! Or in litte pie shells, baked! Or as a pan-style pita, like spanakopita! The possibilities are LITERALLY AMAZING. But I chose to make trigona, since the shell of phyllo dough, brushed in butter and baked, stays crispy for hours. For this, you'll need:

2 1-lb boxes of phyllo dough (they should unroll to sheets sized 12 by 17)
1 pound of butter, melted
The delicious beef-mole filling (for trigona in general, though, you can fill it with anything! I like spinach and feta, or you can fill it with a thick curry, or eggs and sausage, seriously anything you can think of. Phyllo goes well with everything, savory or sweet!)

1. Unroll the phyllo dough on a flat surface, keeping it in a stack.
2. With a sharp knife, cut the stack of sheets into six strips, the long way -- this'll give you six strips that measure 2 inches by 17 inches.
3. With a pastry brush, brush melted butter over the layer of phyllo you'll be working with.
4. Put a glop of filling, about the size of a human eyeball, at the bottom of one phyllo strip. Fold the lower right-hand corner up and to the left, so that the former bottom of the strip is now even with the left-hand side, making a little triangular pouch at the bottom of the strip. Now fold that pouch up. Now fold that pocket back over to the right again, and continue that manner of back-and-forth folding all the way up the strip -- basically, you just want to roll it up such that it makes a little triangular pocket around the filling.
5. Great! You just made one pastry, and it took less than a minute! Now do it a hundred and fifty more times! FUN TIMES. This is a good thing to do in front of the TV or something, to stave off boredom.
6. Once you've got all the trigona you want, you can either keep them in the fridge overnight, or freeze them indefinitely. This is a wonderful thing about trigona -- it can be made well in advance, then baked on the morning you need it. I like to have "emergency trigona" on hand in the freezer in case I need to bring something to a party all last-minute-like.
7. Bake trigona in the oven at 350 F for about a half-hour, turning them over once midway through the cooking process. They should be a golden-brown color when they're ready. Since there's nothing raw on the inside, though, you're pretty much just cooking it to make the outside all crispy. It's pretty forgiving.


4 ounces sour cream
3 ounces creamed corn
1/2 Tbsp sauce from a can of chipotle peppers
1 Tbsp lemon thyme, chopped
1/4 tsp salt
8 ounces of heavy cream

1. In a blender, combine the sour cream, creamed corn, chipotle-sauce, and lemon thyme. Puree until smooth.
2. In a large bowl, add the salt to the heavy cream. Whip until it forms stiff peaks.
3. Fold sour-cream mixture into the heavy cream.

Serve each trigona with about a teaspoon of the cream sauce. Enjoy!

posted by Greg Nog at 9:47 AM on October 13, 2010 [4 favorites]

Greg, you are so hardcore! I wish I could have been there to taste it! I will try your recipe some time!
posted by melissam at 3:41 PM on October 16, 2010

Oh, I'd actually meant to tell you: part of the fat I used for the confit was that pork lard you'd given me! I'd been saving it in the freezer for just such a special occasion!
posted by Greg Nog at 5:51 PM on October 16, 2010

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