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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Texas Chili

My Facebook friend was having a discussion last week about making some good Texas chili...and there were a lot of suggestions and ideas...including the discussion regarding beans or no beans.  I told her a great beginner chili was to use Wick Fowler's 2-Alarm Chili is really quite good. 

I don't have anything against beans...just not in my homemade chili.  If I was going to put beans in - I would make some pinto beans from scratch and add to the chili about 30 minutes from finish time...but really?  No beans needed.  My in-laws make chili (well, they call it chili) with SPAGHETTI in it...What the heck is that about???  But, at least they don't have beans in their "chili"!!!

My hubby is home sick with a cold and asked me to make something spicy for him.  I asked "how about some chili?" and he responded "that would be great".  We both believe spicy food helps naturally relieve some of the symptoms of the common head cold (not cure the cold, just relieve some of the symptoms).  Chili peppers are thought to loosen phlegm and reduce the pain of a sore throat.  Chicken soup is the answer for some people..for us it's a bowl of chili!

So, I had a pot on the stove for about 3 hours today...and I'll tell you how I make it.  I usually don't measure, when I make chili, but I tried to do so today!  If there is a larger crowd, you can certainly multiply this up to make a huge pot of chili...and you will learn by smell and appearance (over time) when it is "just right" for your taste.

What I offer today is "just right" for us!  I frequently make it less spicy...but not on a day we are trying to relieve the misery caused by a crappy old cold!



1 1/2 pounds chili meat (or ground chuck if chili meat not available)
1 small (or 1/2 large) yellow onion - chopped
8 oz tomato sauce
2 cans water (rinsing the tomato sauce)
1 small 8 oz. jar Picante Sauce (medium hotness)
1 jar of water (rinsing the salsa from the jar)
4 Tbsp Chili Powder
1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper (1/2 this much for a mild and none if you can't take the heat)
1 Tbsp Onion Powder
1 Tbsp Cominos (ground cumin)
1/2 Tbsp Garlic Powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

3 Tbsp Masa Harina
1/2 cup tepid water


Place ground meat and chopped onion in a Dutch oven and cook until onions softened and beef is crumbly and browned.  Add the tomato sauce and picante sauce and associated water, and stir.  Add all the seasoning and stir well. 

Do not add the Masa / tepid water yet!

Bring to boil, lower heat and cook, uncovered, on a very low simmer for about 2 hours.  If it reduces too much, just add a bit more water.  It will be intensely brownish red, but not very thick...soupy still.  The masa does the thickening part!  About 30 minutes before serving, whisk the Masa Harina in the tepid water until smooth.  Bring the chili to a little bit more than a simmer (but not a big boil) and pour in the masa water, stir thoroughly.  The masa lightens the color just a bit.  Simmer until it is the right thickness for you, stirring frequently to make sure it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.  I think the masa "makes it" - gives it that special Texas chili taste.  If you skip that part, it just doesn't taste right to me.
Chili after Masa Harina added - ready to serve

Offer grated Cheddar Cheese when serving.  My Mom would want some chopped onions as a topper.  Some people add sour cream.  I just go for the cheese.

We serve it with corn muffins or with tostado chips.  We just finished a big bowl a few minutes ago...I felt a singe on the back of my throat from the cayenne...oh my goodness, it was delicious!!!

Yum yum
Look for the Jalapeno Cheddar Corn Muffin recipe I'll be posting tomorrow.  I made them tonight, without jalapenos...and made only a 1/2 recipe (the full recipe makes 24 muffins)...the teen didn't want cheese in his...he asked why I had to mess with a perfectly good cornbread muffin.  So, I did half without cheese and half with.  I think the cheese makes it over-the-top keep an eye out!!!

Bon Appetit Y'all!!!


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