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What's Cooking? - Posted February 26, 2016 11:20 a.m.
Photo by Shannon Richardson Recipes courtesy of Chad Lardie, Embers Steak House

Pot Luck

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“Everybody I’ve ever met in Amarillo seems to have their own chili recipe,” says Chad Lardie, owner of Embers Steak House. And, he notes cautiously, chili-lovers can be a passionate, opinionated group. So when we asked him to share a few recipes for the spicy dish, he knew he wouldn’t be able to convince anyone to abandon a beloved standby. “Chili recipes seem to be a family secret. Everyone thinks theirs is the best,” he says. Instead, he took a different approach, abandoning anything close to a traditional chili. For this issue, he recommends three unique, alternative approaches to the rich, flavorful stew: a white chicken chili with poblano peppers, a pork chili reliant on green chiles – a regional favorite – and a vegetarian chili using stew vegetables, portabella mushrooms and chipotle flavoring.

Colorado Green Chili
2 green bell peppers, diced
4 large poblano peppers, diced
3 red Fresno chiles, diced
4 large cans diced green chiles
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 boneless pork shoulder, cut into ¾-inch pieces
5 strips bacon, diced
2 cups yellow onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
4 cups unsalted chicken stock
4 large tomatillos, finely chopped
3 tablespoons masa
½ cup sour cream
¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves

Place peppers, onions and pork in large pot; brown. Add chicken broth and spices; simmer for 2 hours over low heat. Add masa; stir thoroughly. Garnish with sour cream and cilantro.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Veggie Chili
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups yellow onion, chopped
1 cup green bell pepper, chopped
½ cup celery, diced
½ cup carrot, diced
1 tablespoon jalapeño pepper, diced
8 portabella mushrooms, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons unsalted tomato paste
1 ½ tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
1 small jar chipotle peppers with adobo
1 can (14.5 ounce) stewed tomatoes with juice
3 cups water
1 cup low-sodium vegetable juice
1 bottle beer
1 can (14.5 ounce) unsalted kidney beans, rinsed and drained
½ cup red onion, diced
¼ cup sour cream

Add vegetables, peppers, garlic and oil to large pot; sauté. Stir in vegetable juice, water, tomato paste, spices and beans; simmer for 2 hours. Garnish with sour cream and red onions.

Makes 8 to 10 servings

White Chicken Poblano Chili
4 chicken breasts
5 cups water
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 white onion, chopped
4 large cloves garlic, minced
6 to 8 poblano peppers, roasted
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded, stemmed, and thinly sliced
1 pound dried great northern beans, rinsed
½ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 ½ tablespoons ground cumin
1 cup heavy cream
½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
White pepper
Sour cream to garnish

Soak beans in water for 2 to 3 hours. Roast poblano peppers and dice. Sauté chicken and onions in olive oil. Add poblanos, jalapeño, beans, water and spices; cook for 2 hours. Add heavy cream. Garnish with sour cream before serving.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Meet the Cook: Chad Lardie of Embers Steak House

After graduating from Texas Tech’s hotel, restaurant, and institutional management program, Chad Lardie worked for more than a decade managing Johnny Carino’s restaurants. When local favorite David’s Steakhouse closed its doors in 2010 – opening up a well-known location in the Wolflin area – Lardie jumped at the opportunity to create a restaurant of his own. He introduced Embers Steak House in early 2011, and delicious steaks, seafood, and burgers have been sizzling on its charcoal and hickory-wood grill ever since.

“We’ve created a really great base of regular customers and are always bringing new customers in,” he says. “Because it started as a known location, some people may have confused us with David’s at the beginning. They saw we were doing something a little bit different, but familiar enough that they really enjoyed it.”

Lardie says a focus on high-quality ingredients and unique cuts of meat is what sets Embers apart. He describes his restaurant as more closely aligned with a New York or Chicago-style steakhouse than a traditional southern one, which might serve chicken-fried steak or ribs alongside rib-eyes. “All of our steaks are hand-cut, and we offer a variety of steaks that people may not always see,” he says. These include a ground buffalo steak with a mushroom demi-glace, a buffalo tenderloin, and the popular buffalo burger.

He says the buffalo dishes have proven a hit with local diners. “Buffalo is a lot healthier than beef,” he says. “It actually has less fat than chicken. There’s a ton of research right now that says buffalo is a great alternative for people who are trying to eat healthy. Personally, I think the flavor of buffalo is a little bit richer and a little bit sweeter than beef.”

As for the chili recipes he provided in this issue, Lardie knows he doesn’t always see eye-to-eye with locals. “I was born a Yankee,” he says. “To me, chili has to have beans, but around here chili doesn’t have beans. But I think it’s one of those platforms where there’s so much you can do with it, everyone can do their own thing. I don’t think there’s a ‘true’ chili. It just depends on your taste preferences.”

by Jason Boyett

Jason has written more than a dozen books and is the host and creator of “Hey Amarillo”, a local interview podcast. Visit and
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