Cody and I made chili last weekend. Some folks had asked for the recipe. So here it is:

What you'll need: a large cast iron enameled chili pot, and a son willing to help by watching the pot, and stirring, so you can nap while the chili simmers. I had both those. This recipe is sometimes called Texas Red or just "red" (as in "gimme a bowl of red) since it has a lot of tomato products.

So here we go:

Texas-Style "Texas Red" Chili


5 pounds boneless chuck roast, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (trim off some fat, get rid of that silver-skin)
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 (6-ounce) cans tomato paste 
1 (32-ounce) container beef broth 
2 (8-ounce) cans diced tomatos with the juice 
6 cloves crushed garlic
1 teaspoon salt 
1 palmful of dried oregano crunched up in you palm
3 teaspoon ground cumin
3 teaspoon paprika
1 large white, and I large red, onion, finely diced
Two large jalapenos, stemmed, seeded, finely diced
4 ears fresh corn, or two C frozen corn, thawed
1 bunch of scallions, sliced
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper 
Olive oil for browning the meat and vegetables
Dice the beef up into half-inch to one-inch cubes, removing some fat, the really thick, hard parts of fat, and removing that silver skin along the side. Spread the chunks out on two sheet pans. Season liberally with salt and pepper. In batches, brown the meat up in oil, don't overload the pan, get them good and browned on all sides. This part takes the longest time in hands-on work. When each batch is done, remove to a large bowl, drain the fat from the pan as needed and re-oil. You don't want the beef sitting in a lot of fat, just searing over heated oil.
When all the meat is browned, drain the pan again, wipe out with a paper towel if needed, and then re-oil the pan; add the onion and jalapenos, season w/ salt and pepper, and saute the onions/jalapenos in oil.
When the veggies are good and browned 8-10 minutes, add all the spices at once, add the oregano, and stir for about a minute to refresh the dried spices. Then add the garlic and stir in for about 30 seconds. When you smell the garlic, add the tomato paste and stir, combining, and cook for five minutes. Add the canned tomatoes, scrape up the browned bits at the bottom of the pan, and cook away most of the tomato's water.
Then add the beef broth, and add back the beef. Bring to a boil, cover the pot, lower the heat and simmer for two hours.
After two hours, get in there with a potato masher and squeeze the meat down into the bottom and sides of the pot, crushing it to shred it. It should shred really easily; if not, put the top back on and simmer for another half hour, then try again. Once the meat is shredded, let it sit there for a minute, it needs the rest.
And you can slice the corn kernels off the ears of corn onto a clean towel. When the corn is ready, pick up the towel by the ends (or just use the frozen corn) and add the corn to the chili. Turn the heat on low and simmer (covered but with the lid ajar) for another 45 minutes, stirring gently every 15 minutes (but make sure to get the chili at the bottom up to the top, scrape the bottom of the pot, you don't want any tomatoes down there getting scorched).
If at any point you think the dish looks too dry, and not chili-like, you can add water or more broth. I used an extra cup of water when I shredded the beef.
After cooking the corn, you can serve. Ladle the chili into bowls, top with the scallions, with raw onion, with crispy bacon, with whatever you like. I usually add a scoop of sour cream. When you're serving, you can serve with cornbread or breadsticks, even garlic bread. I always add a lager or three...



John Needham

November 14, 2014

Spring, TX