Beyond the Recipe: Green Top Farms' Chili on a Mission

Green Top Farms is an urban farm based in New York City. Founded by a southern farmer turned NYC school teacher, Green Top Farms caters meals to offices, schools and institutions around the "city that never sleeps".

Head Chef Anup Joshi runs the Green Top Farms kitchen, developing delicious, healthy recipes that use seasonally available ingredients in an ever-changing menu. Behind his incredible cooking is a mission to reconnect people to local farmers, and making fresh, organically grown food more accessible. Needless to say, we appreciate what Green Top Farms is doing. So in the spirit of collaboration, we partnered with Chef Anup to get his take on a simple, one pot chili recipe, featuring our dry aged, pasture-raised beef chili grind. We also got the low down on a few basic principles that inform his work in building a more sustainable food system. Enjoy!

I have been working in kitchens since I was 15 years old, and I have seen a lot of crazy things. A cook knocking another cook out with an empty wine bottle. A meatball coming back to the kitchen uneaten and going back in the steam table. A chef smashing a sheet tray and screaming at the top of his lungs because a dessert was melting. I cannot count how much food I’ve seen go into the garbage can. I’ve also seen amazing things, like a small team working together to execute a busy service. A hard working new hire work their way up from dishwasher to sous chef. A chef and mentor, sick and close to death, completely changing his diet to reverse an autoimmune disease. My various work experiences have shaped my vision for our kitchen. As Green Top Farms has grown over the last few years, we have developed our menus and built our team based on a few simple principles:

A kitchen, no matter how small, is a food system, so treat it that way.

How we cook and eat should have a positive effect on our bodies, our minds, and the environment around us.

Cooking and eating the right way is simpler and more delicious than you think.

     

    Food comes into our kitchen where it’s received, prepped, cooked, and then delivered. That’s a food system. How can we address the issues with other larger food systems without looking at our own? We are not perfect but we do our best to source our ingredients from local producers with as few distributors in between, so food is as fresh as possible and so farmers get the best price for their products.

    We are also looking for ways to increase the nutritional value of the ingredients by either serving them raw, including the skin, soaking, fermenting, or using traditional spice combinations that have been passed down over thousands of years. How food makes you feel afterwards is a huge signal as to what it’s doing to your body so we keep that top of mind. You should feel refreshed not lethargic, full but not bloated, sharp not sleepy.

    We look for ingredients that are in season and that we can prep simply and in high volumes. Our price point is relatively low, and we pay our team a good wage, so we are not looking to over complicate our lives to get good food to the masses. Carrots are washed but not peeled, same with winter squashes, and the nutrients in the skins get passed down to our customers. Chickens are roasted whole, shredded, then the carcasses and any vegetable scraps go into a delicious bone broth. Why would anyone throw away the tops to the fennel? That long green stalk gets sliced thin with the bulb for a bright, fresh, raw fennel salad.

    If you want to see these principles in action, look no further than this one pot chili recipe. I love one pot meals, they have everything: meat, sometimes fish, vegetables, starch. They have soft and sharp spice, acidity, depth of flavor. They are hearty, and filling, and they even taste better the next day! This chili has the odds and ends of the steer, not the prime cuts, ground coarsely. It has fresh vegetables, spices, tomato for acidity, beans for heft. Each 12 oz cup of chili uses only 3 oz of beef, so while we are consuming pasture-raised beef, we are doing it in moderation. There are also lots of ways to make this chili your own. Don’t have red onions? Use white onions. Don’t like it spicy? 86 the cayenne. Like it really spicy? Add a few fresh green chilies with the garlic, or right at the very end! The important thing is to keep your food system tight (no waste), nourish your mind and your body with quality ingredients, and keep it simple!

    Photos: SQ Munro

    Chef Anup's Porter Road Beef Chili

    Ingredients

    2 lbs Porter Road Chili Grind

    1/4 Cup Olive Oil

    5 Cloves Garlic, Minced

    1 Red Onion, Diced

    1 Yellow Bell Pepper, Diced

    1 Green Bell Pepper, Diced

    3 Stalks Celery, Diced

    Kosher Salt to Taste

    4 Tbsp of Your Favorite Steak Seasoning

    1 tsp Cayenne (if you like a kick)

    2x 28 oz Can of Peeled Plum Tomatoes with Liquid

    2 Quarts Beef or Chicken Stock

    1 Cup Chickpeas, Cooked

    1 Cup Black Beans, Cooked

    1 Cup Kidney Beans, Cooked

     

    Directions

    Step 1

    In a large sauce pan over medium heat, warm up olive oil then add the beef and brown, stirring occasionally. Don’t be afraid to let it stick for a second.

    Step 2 

    Add the garlic and sauté quickly until the raw garlic aroma has passed, about 2 minutes, then add the onions, peppers, and celery. Continue to cook over medium heat, while seasoning with salt.  

    Step 3 

    When the seasoned vegetables have softened, add your steak seasoning and the tomatoes. Let the tomatoes cook down and coat the beef and vegetables until it looks sticky like candy. Add the stock and beans, bring to a boil, then turn it down to a simmer.

    Step 4 

    Let it cook gently, uncovered, until the beef is tender and the chili has a thick consistency (1 1/2 to 2 hours). If it’s very thick but needs more time, add a little more stock or water and cover it while it cooks to your liking.

     

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