Texas Chili

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.

Our Bowl of Red

Serves 4
Prep time 1 hour
Cook time 1 hour, 30 minutes
Total time 2 hours, 30 minutes
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Freezable, Pre-preparable, Serve Hot
Region American
Making a good Texas Chili from scratch takes some time and effort but the flavor is well worth the effort. Beans (on the side of course) and cornbread make this a flavorful and spicy dinner. Served up in miniature cast iron cauldrons for a nice outdoorsy addition.

Ingredients

Broth

  • 1 tablespoon Instant Beef Bouillon
  • 2 cups Hot Water
  • 3 tablespoons Chili Powder

Meat Preparation

  • 2lb Stew Beef (Cubed)
  • 1 cup Water

Spices

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons Ground Cumin
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons Cayenne Pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Garlic Powder
  • 1 tablespoon Tabasco Sauce

Finishing

  • 1 tablespoon Yellow Cornmeal
  • 1 cup Water
  • 2 tablespoons Tomato Paste

Note

Tolberts' recipe called for rendered beef suet for the fat. We substituted vegetable oil since most of the suet available here comes from cows on weight watchers. For the extra beef flavor, we used Beef bouillon and added the chilli powder to that to make the sauce. Letting it set in the refrigerator overnight really brings on the seasonings.

Directions

Sauce
Step 1
Texas Chili Sauce
In a small pot, combine bouillon and chili powder, and heat to simmer. Let reduce slightly till all the chili powder is dissolved.
Preparation
Step 2
Texas Chili Brown Meat
Heat a 5 Qt. Cast Iron Dutch Oven over medium heat with the oil until hot. Add beef, cover till browned.
Step 3
Texas Chili meat and sauce
Add bouillon mix and 1 cup water, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
Step 4
Texas Chili Fridge
Add the remaining spices and simmer for an additional 45 minutes. Let cool and remove to a storage container. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Step 5
Texas Chili Skillet
Finish by transferring to a Cast Iron skillet with an additional cup of water. Rinsing the container with the water first helps pick up leftover seasonings. Cover and bring to simmer. Add cornmeal and let thicken.
Serving
Step 6
Texas Chili served in Cauldron
Since this is a cast iron cooked dish, we served it up in miniature cast iron cauldrons which gives it a nice rustic appeal in addition to keeping it nice and warm. Beans and cornbread on the side with some celery stalks to cool the palate.

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