I’ve been wanting to make an authentic Texas Chili for quite a while so after getting a great deal on about 2 lbs. of stir fry beef I decided it was time. But where to start. A post someone made to our Facebook page with a picture of Texas Chili in a cast iron pot turned out to be the inspiration I was looking for. In searching for the perfect recipe, I came to the conclusion that there’s as many Texas Chili Recipes as there are Texans, and they’re pretty particular about it. One standout amongst all my research came from a book named “A Bowl of Red” by Frank X. Tolbert. Since this was my first attempt at Texas Chili it seemed like a real good place to start.
Normally I try to follow recipes on the first attempt to the letter but made a few substitutions to the original recipe as I didn’t feel like running all over town looking for Ancho chile pods, nor the beef suet. Texas Chili really places emphasis on the meat and spices and I was primarily looking for the flavor, color, and consistency. I cut the heat back a bit so if you want chili that removes paint from your old Chevy this might not be a good recipe for you. It’s still plenty spicy and we served it up in miniature cast iron cauldrons with beans, warm cornbread, and some celery to cool the palate on the side. This is a cast iron start to finish dish, cooked and served. Overall it takes some time with the preparation, but was as fun to make as it was to eat. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
I also split the recipe into a base which includes the meat, spices and fluid reserving the extra fluid and thickener as I planned on refrigerating the base. Refrigerating overnight really brings on the flavor, not to mention the aroma which will drive you nuts. If you’re an outdoors type or a tailgater you can make the base ahead of time, reheat over a low, and add the final ingredients at the big event. Scaling it up to feed an army shouldn’t be difficult and will warm both the tongue and tummy of the hungry.