Looking for something hearty to serve your guests during today’s big game? How about a steaming bowl of Texas chili? Most Lone Star chili masters eschew beans and tomatoes and claim that toppings—sour cream, cheese and onions, for example—turn their bowl of red into a salad bar. To them, chili is all about the meat and the seasonings. But we’re not purists. At the risk of offending your Texan friends, you can add cooked kidney or pinto beans or chopped canned tomatoes to this chili if you like. Ancho chiles are relatively mild, so if you want a hotter chili, add some cayenne pepper. Whatever way you make it, it’s sure to be a hit when you gather friends over for the game this weekend.
Texas Beef Chili
- 2 tsp. whole cumin seeds
- 1/4 cup pure ancho chile powder
- 1 Tbs. Spanish smoked paprika
- 2 tsp. dried oregano
- 4 lb. (2 kg) boneless beef chuck roast
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 3 Tbs. olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 1 jalapeño chile, seeds and ribs removed, chopped
- 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups (12 fl. oz./375 ml) lager beer
- 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) beef broth or water
- 2 Tbs. yellow cornmeal
- Shredded cheddar cheese, chopped red onions, sour cream and sliced jalapeño chiles for serving
1. Heat a fry pan over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and heat, stirring often, until toasted (you may see a wisp of smoke), about 1 minute. Transfer to a mortar and finely grind with a pestle (or use a spice grinder). Transfer to a bowl and add the ancho chile powder, paprika and oregano. Mix well and set aside.
2. Cut the beef into 1/2-inch (12-mm) cubes. Season with salt and pepper. In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm 2 Tbs. of the olive oil. In batches to avoid crowding, add the beef cubes and cook, turning occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes per batch. Transfer to a plate.
3. Add the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil to the pot. Add the onion, jalapeño, bell pepper and garlic and reduce the heat to medium. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens, about 5 minutes. Uncover, add the spice mixture and stir well for 30 seconds. Stir in the beer and stock. Return the beef to the pot, cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer until the beef is fork-tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
4. Remove the chili from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Skim off any fat that rises to the surface. Return the pot to medium heat and bring to a simmer. Transfer about 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) of the cooking liquid to a small bowl, add the cornmeal, and whisk well. Stir into the chili and cook until lightly thickened, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon the chili into warmed bowls and serve hot, with bowls of cheddar cheese, onions, sour cream and jalapeños on the side for sprinkling on top. Serves 8.
Find tantalizing recipes for timeless favorites in Williams Sonoma
Comfort Food: Recipes for Classic Dishes & More, by Rick Rodgers.