Friday, February 14, 2014

Texas Style Chili

Texas style chili, made with a roast, loads of sweet and hot peppers, stewed and Rotel tomatoes and beef stock and beer if you like, heavy on cumin and chili powder and thickened with a slurry of masa harina.

Texas Style Chili

I think the major differences in Texas style chili over what most of us know as chili, is that it is most often made from chopped beef off of a whole roast, like a braising roast, or even venison, rather than ground beef, or heaven forbid, chicken. There are more chilies, whether they are reconstituted dried, powdered or chopped fresh, and it's heavier in cumin and chili powder for heat and never, ever beans cooked in.

Having some pretty solid Texas roots in my bloodline, and more than a few people I love living there, I did a goodly amount of research before deciding to write a recipe for a chili that is in any way remotely tied to Texas. Texan chili purists, while I do welcome your comments on a proper Texas chili, please note before you critique that I don't call this "authentic" Texas chili, but only "Texas style." No rants please.
Just a quick reminder.... this is a blog, not just a "recipe site," and yes, there is a difference! I want to first thank all of you who have supported my work over the years, but if you aren't interested in the chit chat, info, photos, tips and such in a post, as always, you'll find the complete recipe text with measurements and instructions, as well as a printable document, a little bit further down the page. Just swipe or scroll down to the bottom of the post!
A few things I have discovered is that Texas style chili usually means:
  • No two Texans will agree on what is authentic.
  • A beef roast or venison meat base is most typical - though sometimes freshly ground beef of some kind is also used.
  • Seasonings often include onion, though some will argue the onion should be served raw as a garnish and not cooked in, garlic, a variety of chopped chilies along with some ground cumin, salt and pepper - the key ingredient being chilies or chili powder, and they use plenty of it.
  • No beans. Period. Although, according to Texas chili historians and culinary experts, it is acceptable to offer them as a garnish at the table. Also, see the first point above - no two Texans will agree - because some Texans will say it must have beans, while other say it's not Texas-style if it includes them. I think it's mostly a family thing.
  • Some tomato is often used to give the chili body, but not enough that it's spaghetti sauce, so don't overdo it. If you use it, don't use much.
  • It is usually finished with corn masa or cornmeal, which adds just a hint of sweetness and thickening power to help tighten the chili. Regular all purpose flour or even cornstarch may be substituted, though you will, of course, lose the corn flavor.
Here's how I made my version.

Cut roast into 1/2-inch sized cubes and use paper towels to pat the meat very dry. I used a chuck. 

In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the bacon fat or oil over medium high heat and add the beef, in batches, to brown. Don't crowd the pot - you don't want to steam the meat. Remove and set aside.

Look at that beautiful fond y'all! 

Add the onion and peppers to the pot, saute for 4 minutes.

Add garlic and cook another minute. 

Stir in all of the seasonings.

Now.... if you're not familiar with Texas style chili, this is where it can get tricky.

Texas style chili is big and bold.

A full tablespoon of cumin, somewhere between 2 to 6 tablespoons of chili powder depending on how spicy you like it, 2 teaspoons of oregano and 2 teaspoons salt are the seasonings called for here - way, way more than many of us are accustomed to.

In contrast, my chili recipes you'll see here will have significantly less of these seasonings, so keep that in mind and start on the low end the first time you season this.

Return meat to the pot.

Stir together.

Add a 14.5 ounce can of diced or stewed tomatoes, one can of mild, original or hot Rotel tomatoes, both undrained and a tablespoon of tomato paste.

Add 4 cups of beef stock or broth (I used water and add 1 heaping tablespoon of Better Than Bouillon beef base to the chili), and, optional, but I like using it, 2 teaspoons of Kitchen Bouquet.

You may substitute a good Mexican beer for part of the beef stock if you like. Stir well, bring up to a boil, reduce heat to medium, cover and cook for about 3 hours, or until the beef is tender.

When there is about 15 minutes of cook time left, whisk the masa harina.

Whisk in water until smooth.

Stir into the chili.

Cook another 15 minutes, or until nicely thickened.

Serve with optional garnishes such as pinto beans, steamed rice, green onion, shredded cheddar, sour cream, cilantro, lime wedges, tortilla or corn chips and cornbread.

For more of my favorite chili recipes, visit my page on Pinterest!

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Posted by on February 14, 2014
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