Basic Texas Chili

Mostly I prefer real chili (a bean and pepper stew with tomatoes and often meat ranging from beef to pork to turkey), but there are also uses for Texas chili (a beef and pepper stew without beans or tomatoes).

This is pass two at that.

2 dried quajillo chiles
1t ground ancho chile
1t ground arbol chile
2t ground cumin seed
1 finely chopped onion
4 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 lb ground beef (or something nicer)
1 cup beef broth
1 cup water
2T masa harina
2T olive oil

Toast the whole dried chiles for a couple of minutes each side over low heat. Remove seeds and chop into quarter-inch squares.

Heat olive oil in pan big enough to hold the whole mess. Saute onion and garlic. Add other spices towards the end. (Original recipe blends all the spices to a paste with 1/4 cup water. That’s actually beneficial in that the squares of chile skin are notable in the final dish my way.) (The use of whole dried vs. ground chiles was simply the luck of the draw in my spice cabinet today, not anything of artistic intent.)

Add ground beef and cook until brown, breaking up into smaller pieces as much as practicable.

Add water and beef broth, and bring to a boil.  Immediately reduce to a very low simmer (occasional bubbles) and cook uncovered for two hours.  Add water and/or broth as needed.  Towards the last half hour whisk the masa with water and stir into the mixture to thicken.

For some uses, you’ll want to thin it out considerably at the end.  Not so much for others (for example, you want it pretty thin for making home-made chili cheese burritos, but not for using in an omelet or “skillet breakfast”).


Mediocre Texas Chili

I’m starting the process of working up what I think of as a “Texas” chili recipe — beef, no beans, no tomato so far.

1.5 lb chili-cut (or very coarse grind) beef
1 medium onion, chopped medium
3 T vegetable oil
3 T minced garlic
2 bay leaves
1 T ground ancho chile
1 T ground guajillo chile
2 t ground arbol chile
2 t ground cumin seed
3 T oregano leaf
1/2 t ground black pepper
2 cups beef stock, bouillon, or just water,
or some beer, or something
2 T masa harina
3 T water

Heat oil in dutch oven or other big enough container. Brown beef, then add onion, garlic, and herbs and spices. Cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

Add the two cups of liquid, bring to a boil, and reduce to simmer. Let simmer for a couple of hours. Remove bay leaves.

Mix masa harina with water until smooth, add to chili, and stir well.  Cook for 5 or 10 minutes, and serve.

I added a small amount of salt, which I think was too much, hence no salt listed above.  Use your judgment.  More cumin is probably a good idea, and using whole seed rather than ground will probably help.

I would rate the hotness of this batch at low medium, which is a wide band.

It tasted nice enough, but it wasn’t really “there” yet, and I’m not sure what to change next.