Lamb and Black Bean Chili with Cumin Crema, Red Onion Relish, Avocado Relish and Native American Fry Bread

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  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings
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1/4 cup olive oil

2 1/2 pounds lamb from shoulder, boned and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 large Spanish onions, finely diced

6 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 (15-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained and pureed

1 tablespoon chipotle puree

3 tablespoons ancho chili powder

1 tablespoon pasilla chili powder

1 tablespoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 tablespoon dried Mexican oregano

5 cups chicken stock

1 (12-ounce) bottle dark beer

Dash ground cinnamon

1 to 2 tablespoons honey

2 cups cooked or canned black beans

Chopped cilantro leaves, for garnish

Cumin Crema, recipe follows

Avocado Relish, recipe follows

Red Onion Relish, recipe follows

Fry Bread, recipe follows

Cumin Crema:

1 pint creme fraiche, Mexican crema or sour cream

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Red Onion Relish:

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 red onions, finely diced

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 serrano chile, finely diced with seeds

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

Salt and pepper

3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro leaves

Avocado Relish:

4 Haas avocados, peeled, pitted and chopped

1/2 cup red onion, minced

1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves

2 serrano chiles, minced with seeds

2 limes, juiced

Salt and pepper

Fry Bread:

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

2 tablespoons dry milk powder

2 teaspoons salt, plus more for seasoning after frying

5 tablespoons cold vegetable shortening

1 1/2 cups water

2 cups canola oil, for frying


  1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the lamb, in batches, season with salt and pepper, and cook until seared and browned on all sides. Remove the lamb to a plate with a slotted spoon.
  2. Add the onion to the pan and cook until soft. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, chipotle, and spices. Return the lamb to the pan, add the stock and beer; cover and cook at a simmer for over medium heat, about 1 hour, or until the lamb is tender and the mixture has thickened. After 30 minutes, check seasoning and add honey. During the last 15 minutes, add the cinnamon and cooked beans. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro. Ladle into bowls and top with a large dollop of Cumin Crema, Avocado Relish, and Red Onion Relish. Serve with fry bread on the side.

Cumin Crema:

  1. Whisk together ingredients in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

Red Onion Relish:

  1. Heat oil in a large saute pan over high heat. Add the onions, garlic, and chile to the pan and cook until soft. Add the lime juice and season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro.

Avocado Relish:

  1. In a large bowl, combine avocado, red onion, cilantro, chiles, lime juice, and salt and pepper. Fold until incorporated.

Fry Bread:

  1. Combine flour, baking powder, milk powder, and salt in a large bowl. Cut the shortening in until the mixture is crumbly. Add the water and mix until the dough comes together. Place on a lightly floured surface and knead lightly until smooth. Cover with a dishcloth and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
  2. Heat the oil in a large high-sided saute pan until it reaches 350 degrees F.
  3. Divide the dough into 8 pieces and roll each piece out into a 4-inch circle. Fry the bread in the hot oil until golden brown on both sides. Remove to a sheet pan lined with paper towels and season with salt.
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