Monday, March 14, 2011

Texas Chili

Texas chili never has beans in it and many people say it shouldn't include tomatoes either, although mine does. Traditional, Texas chili is made with meat, spices, and stock only and served topped with raw onions. In Texas it's commonly ordered as a 'Big Bowl of Red'. It's red color comes from the chilies and other spices and so does it's heat.

1 T. cooking oil
1 small Onion - diced
1 rib Celery - finely diced
1/2 Green Bell Pepper - diced
1/2 Yellow Bell Pepper - diced
3-6 cloves Garlic
1 lb Ground Turkey or Beef
1 lb Turkey or Pork Sausage (removed from casing)
1/2 heaping t. Cumin
1 1/2 t. Chili Powder
1/8 t. Cinnamon
1/8 t. Cayenne Pepper
1/4 t. Smoked Paprika
1 T. Dried Oregano
1/2 t. White Pepper
1/2 t. Black Pepper
1/4 t. Salt
2 Chipotle Peppers (seeds removed) - finely chopped
1 T. Adobo Sauce (from chipotle can)
1 15oz can Tomato Sauce*
1/2 28oz can Whole Tomatoes* (broken up)
1 T. Worcestershire Sauce
splash Soy Sauce

Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add onions, celery and bell peppers to the hot oil. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onions are clear.

Add garlic to the pot and cook for two more minutes. Then remove the vegetables from the pot and set them aside.

Put all of your meat into the pot. Use a spatula or spoon to break the meat up as it cooks.

As the meat starts to cook add your sautéed vegetables back into the pot and mix them into the meat. Continue to break the meat up.

In a small bowl, mix all of the dry seasonings together. (On my list of ingredients above, it's from the cumin to the salt.) It makes about two tablespoons of spice mix.

When the meat is almost completely cooked through, add your spice mix, chipotle peppers and adobo sauce.

Finish cooking the meat and then stir in the tomatoes, tomato sauce, Worcestershire and soy sauce to the pot. Add stock or water if needed, but I don't think it will be.

Taste the chili and add salt if needed.

Cook at a low simmer for one to one and a half hours stirring occasionally.

Top with fresh diced white onion. Texas chili is great in a big bowl all by itself. It's also great with cornbread, crackers, rice, or chips.

I served this chili as Frito Pie. A great Texas classic. It's even a school lunch meal in Texas. To make it it you simply top a bowl of Frito corn chips with Texas chili, shredded cheddar cheese and raw onion. FYI, both this chili and Fritos are gluten free and tasty stuffs!

¡Buen provecho!

*I use tomato in my chili because that's how I like it. If you're a purist and think Texas chili shouldn't include them, then yall should just leave 'em out.


  1. My "tip" for making chili is to make my own chili paste instead of using powder. Very easy, and I think it makes a big difference.

    I use just ancho chilis, but you can throw other ones into the mix, too, especially chipotle. Just go a little easy on the hotter ones, if you use them. There is a warmth (not merely heat) and flavor to anchos that are hard to beat.

    Anyway, here's the basic idea.

    Take some (I use three anchos, usually) dried chilis, and toast them over medium heat in a skillet. Don't let them burn; mostly you're just looking to have them puff up and become fragrant.

    Submerge the toasted chilis in hot water in a bowl with a plate on top to make sure they're completely submerged. Let 'em sit for at least a half an hour. More is better because they get softer and the next step is easier.

    Now, this is very important, boys and girls. Either use plastic (nitrile, it's called) gloves for the next steps, or do not touch delicate parts of yourself for a long time after the next operation.

    Drain the chilis, discarding the water (yes, discarding the water). Remove the stems and cut the chilis apart to remove the seeds; you can save and use a few of them if you decide the chili isn't hot enough. Then, chop the now-softened chilis into small part.

    Then, using a small immersion blender (my favorite), a regular blender, or one of those mini food processors, just cover the chilis with fresh water, and puree into a paste.

    Add the paste to the chili to taste.

    And here's a tip from my mother, may she rest in peace. In any dish that includes tomatoes, like chili, or even pasta sauce, a small amount of sugar, cuts the acid in the tomatoes and smooths the whole thing out in a wonderful way.

  2. Over fritos?! This looks amazing!

  3. But oh the beans were in my mothers chili, her mothers chili, and her Scottish Grandmama Currie's chili.