I now have lived in the south long enough to grow to like things a little more hot and sticky and not so cold and icy. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy the occasional big snow that we get during the winter months. But you can have the cold any other day of the year. This year we didn’t even get any time to adjust. Old man winter was like, WABAM! It went from the 70’s the last two weeks of December (which was pretty abnormal, but nice), to 28 degree lows now the first week of January. This has done nothing for me except got me in the mood for something that might bring a little heat back into my life, like a big ol’ bowl of Texas style chili aka chile con carne aka bowl of red.
My stepfather has been an avid chili cook going on 10+ years now. He’s competed in I don’t even know how many CASI (Chili Appreciation Society International) chili cook-offs. He even qualified for the International Championship Cook-Off in Terlingua Texas a while back. That’s the big one, the real deal, the “not just anyone can compete” type of cook-off. I’ve been talking about trying my hand at a chili recipe and he’s given me plenty of good advice.
Now I don’t want you to be disappointed in my recipe, so before I get any further along, I must tell you that Texas style chili is not your typical chili. It’s not spaghetti sauce with beans and chili powder. It’s the kind that those rough riding, cow pokes used to eat while sitting by the fire out on the range with what they had on hand and what they could find. Typically beef, spices, chile powders, onions and garlic in a beef stock. I decided to create a chili that is somewhere between the two, but leaning more toward a true Texas style. So if you’re used to your chili tasting a little more sweet and little less spicy, then this recipe may not be for you. Not saying that type of chili isn’t just as delicious. It’s just different.
I added chorizo, because I imagine those Texas cowboys sitting around with their vaquero brothers from the south sharing a bowl of red. It’s the romantic in me. And I did add beans, because honestly, I’m a bit of closet pleaser and I know everyone likes beans in their chili. But if you want a totally authentic Texas style chili, don’t add them. It doesn’t affect the overall flavor.
The chili powder is the key to any good chili. I decided to make mine from scratch, well, because I like to make things from scratch. Anything made from scratch is always better! There are so many varieties of chiles with different flavors and heats. I chose anchos, mulatos and guajillos. Anchos and mulatos are both dried poblanos. You might be thinking that this would mean that they taste the same, but actually they are picked at different times of maturity which not only changes their heat scale, but also their flavor. Mulatos tend to be less sweet and more acidic in flavor than the ancho and are also slightly higher on the Scoville heat scale. Gaujillos have a sweet, berry-like flavor and are even higher on the Scoville heat scale. None of the chiles I chose are super hot. So if you’re not into the heat, you’re going to love this chili. But if like a little more heat to your chili and you’re feeling brave, you can substitute your own choice of peppers for any that I used in my recipe. The Great Chile Book is a great guide to different chiles, flavors and heat scale. Get creative! I just can’t promise that it will taste as good as the original (wink).
Now fortunately for me, there is a Super G Mart near me. You might remember me mentioning how amazing this place is for those hard to find international food items in my Can’t find galangal root? I couldn’t either! post. That’s where I bought huge amounts of fresh, dried chiles for practically next to nothing. Oh how I love thee Super G!
You may not be as fortunate and have a harder time finding dried chiles in your area. If that’s the case, don’t despair! You can also find them elsewhere. Try a Mexican market if you have one close by. Or, if you have a grocer with a large Mexican section, you might find them there. And if all else fails, you can always buy them online.
TEXAS STYLE CHILI aka Chile con Carne
CHILI POWDER INGREDIENTS
2 Ancho chiles
2 Mulato chiles
4 Guajillo chiles
2 tbsp. Roasted cumin seeds, crushed
2 tbsp. Garlic powder
2 tbsp. Mexican oregano
1 tsp. Smoked paprika
¼ tsp. Cayenne pepper
2-3 lb. Beef shoulder or chuck roast cut into ¼ inch cubes
12 oz. Chorizo sausage
2 tbsp. [Ghee|http://www.instinctiveeats.com/ghee-i-just-like-saying-it/} If you don’t have any ghee on hand, any oil that you do will work.
1 large Onion
4 cloves Garlic minced
1 tbsp. Piloncillo (This a pure, refined sugar used in Mexican cooking and baking that tastes similar to brown sugar. If you can’t find piloncillo just substitute with brown sugar.)
1 – 32 oz. Box of low sodium beef broth
3 tbsp. Masa harina (corn flour)
1 tbsp. Apple cider vinegar
1 ½ tsp. Salt
26.5 oz. Can of black beans, drained and rinsed (optional)
First toast your chilies in a skillet over medium heat, turning frequently, until fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Once the chiles are toasted they will be more pliable. Set aside to cool.Then toast the cumin seeds until fragrant. Place toasted seeds in a coffee grinder and grind into a powder and set aside.
Take your toasted chiles and remove the stems. Cut them open and remove as many seeds as possible. Then put the chilies in a food processor. Grind them into a powder. This might take a while especially if they were fairly pliable.
If your peppers aren’t grinding as fine as they should be in your food processor, you might have to transfer the powder to your spice/coffee grinder.
Once processed into as fine of a powder as you can get, return the powder to the food processor, then add cumin,
paprika and cayenne.
Blend all spices together in the food processor.
Using a grater, grate 1 tablespoon of piloncillo sugar cone and set aside.
Remove the fat from your beef and cut your beef into ¼ inch cubes.
Chop the onion and mince the garlic. Then set aside.
Remove the casings from chorizo and place it in Dutch oven over medium-high heat and brown.
Once browned, remove chorizo, placing it in a strainer over a bowl and press on it with a wooden spoon to squeeze any excess grease from the sausage.
Then set the strainer over a bowl and let sausage continue to drain.
In the same Dutch oven, sauté the garlic and onion in the leftover chorizo juices until tender.
Once tender set aside with chorizo.
Now add the ghee to Dutch oven over high heat until ghee is starts smoking. Add the beef and brown.
Now add the chorizo, garlic and onion in with the beef.
Over medium heat, add the broth and the masa harina. Stirring until masa harina is dissolved and there are no clumps.
Now add vinegar, sugar, salt
…and chili powder spice blend.
Stir to blend.
Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer on low for 1 hour and 30 min.
After an hour add black beans to the chili if you choose.
Traditionally served with a dollop of sour cream and lime wedges. I added some chopped green onions for fun.