1. To a Texan, adding tomatoes means you're making spaghetti sauce NOT chili.(I used them in my bastardized version but they cooked down and were barely discerable, I think I'll live).
2. If you use anything that even closely resembles the chili powder blend found on your local grocery store shelf you will, I mean you WILL be shot on sight.
3. Beef suet, Yes! Lard, okay. Anything else and it's curtains for you.
After that the specifics proved to be as ellusive as finding a real cowboy on horseback in New York City (it's a fantasy of mine but I'll spare you the details).
Some use pork, beef or both. Some add chocolate which brings it into the realm of a Oaxacan Mole Negro (Very Aztecy) and some add beer while others do not (one recipe added beer AND bourbon---my kinda guy). Some are so hot you can't even be in the same room with them, some so mild you almost don't notice that they're there.
So, armed and dangerous I headed into the kitchen. What I ended up with was nothing short of fandamtastic! This New Yorker turned Wisconsinite turned Chicagoan heard the mission bells of San Antonio and saw the rising of the Texas sun! (I'm pretty sure I heard a chorus of angels somewhere in there too). This is my hands-down, all-time favorite way of making and eating chili now. I am a true convert (and you know how they can be)! Served with some of my world-famous cornbread muffins...this dinner will bring that cowboy home and maybe some of his tall, dark and handsome friends too :). Enjoy!
I found this quote that I loved and want to share it with you before I get to the recipe:
"It can only truly be Texas red if it walks the thin line just this side of indigestibility: Damning the mouth that eats it and defying the stomach to digest it, the ingredients are hardly willing to lie in the same pot together." John Thorne, Simple Cooking.
Recipe: Texas Red Chili
Notes: My version yielded a medium-hot chili so you may want to add more or less heat depending on your preferences. Also, in all of my readings I never saw mentioned anything about toppings, garnishes, fixins, etc.
We like green onion, cilantro and cheese but I think this may be a mortal sin. Oh well, I can live with that.
2 pounds beef chuck roast, cut into 3/8" cubes
1/4 cup beef suet or lard, or vegetable oil if you must ;)
1/4 cup ground ancho chile powder
2 tablespoons ground guajillo chile powder
1 large onion, diced
2 poblano peppers, seedes and diced
2 jalapenos, diced
3 chipotle peppers, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 14 ounce can beef broth
12 ounces of Guiness beer
2 14.5 ounce cans diced, fire-roasted tomatoes
2 tablespoons masa harina
In a dutch oven heat your fat of chose over medium-high heat. Working in batches, brown beef cubes and remove with a slotted spoon to a plate. Turn heat down to medium and add ancho and guajillo powders. Stir until fragrant, a minute or two. Add onion, poblano and jalapeno cook until starting to wilt, about 5 minutes.
Add chipotles, garlic, cumin and oregano. Cook 1 minute. Add beef stock and deglaze the pan. Then add Guiness, tomatoes and masa harina. Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer and cover. Cook covered, 2 hours or until beef is tender. If the chili isn't quite thick enough, simmer uncovered until done.