Brrrr…Baby, it’s cold outside! Nothing warms the heart and soul like a bowl of chili. The real deal~no tomatoes; absolutely no beans! With a pot simmering on the stove, your home will smell FABULOUS, and your dinner guests will be chomping at the bit for the first ladleful! Serve it up as we do, with a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkle of grated cheddar cheese, and a few fresh jalapeno slices across the top. This is Heaven – West Texas-style!
Incorporating a variety of dried chiles allows you to control the depth of flavor and the heat. I love the rich taste of chiles with enough heat to make it interesting, but with the emphasis on the flavor. I generally use a combination of chiles. The dried New Mexico chiles (Hatch, if you can find them) can offer up a nice bite of heat as well as flavor. Go easy if you are using the Hatch Hot chiles – they can sneak up on you. The dark pasilla, has a complex, almost raisin-like, flavor with modest heat. The ancho provides a rich, fruity flavor. The cascabel has a deep, woodsy flavor, and the guajillo provides essential components of chocolate and berry, with just the right amount of heat. Mix and match until you find the blend that pleases your palate. Chili is VERY personal!! Once you start using the dried chiles, you will never go back to the chile powder blends again!!
Here’s the recipe…so start cooking! And of course, serve it with a hot, buttered piece of jalapeno cornbread!
The Dining Diva’s Real West Texas Chili
2.5-3 oz Dried chiles (I use a combination of New Mexico, cascabel, ancho, pasilla, and guajillo)
2½ tsp Ground cumin (or more to taste)
½ tsp Ground black pepper
1 tsp Kosher salt
Oil (just enough to coat the bottom of the pan)
2 lbs Beef chuck, ground for chili or cut into small cubes (I usually use ground)
1 Medium Onion, finely chopped
3 Cloves Garlic, pressed
2 Cups Beef stock
2 Cups Water*(Use soaking water and add more to make a total of 2 cups)
2 Tbsp Corn flour (NOT cornmeal! Use masa harina; or buy from South Texas Milling, www.stxmilling.com )
¼ Cup Water
1 tsp Dried Mexican oregano (or 1 Tbsp minced fresh)
1 Tbsp Dark brown sugar
1 Tbsp Vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat a Dutch oven or 5 qt sauté pan over medium heat; do not add oil. Toast the dried chiles until they are aromatic and pliable, turning often. When cool enough to handle, cut open the chiles and remove the stems and seeds. Put the chiles into a bowl, and cover with boiling water. Cover the bowl, and allow the chiles to soften about 20 minutes. Put the chiles into a blender, reserving the soaking water. Add the cumin, pepper, and salt to the container, and about ½ cup of the soaking water. Blend until the chiles make a smooth paste. (The Vita-Mix is perfect for this!) Reserve the paste.
Add a bit of oil to the pan, and heat over medium high heat. Brown the meat with the onion and the garlic. Stir in the chile paste, beef stock, and water*. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Simmer the mixture, uncovered, for about 1 hour; stirring occasionally.
Stir ¼ cup water into the corn flour to make a smooth paste. Add to the pot, along with the oregano, brown sugar, and vinegar. Stir to combine. Continue simmering, uncovered, for another hour, or until the meat is tender. Taste and adjust seasonings. Flavors improve if made a day in advance!
We serve with grated cheddar cheese, a dollop of sour cream, sliced fresh jalapenos, and of course, a hot buttered piece of jalapeno cornbread!
Now snuggle in and eat your dinner!
is a good web site to read about the different chiles, their heat index, and to