Original Texas-Style Chili
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Original Texas-Style Chili
  Texas    Chili  
Last updated 6/12/2012 1:28:43 AM. Recipe ID 64199. Report a problem with this recipe.
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The Original Texas-Style Chili version of chili con carne contains no vegetables at 
all, except chili peppers. If using fresh peppers, they should have been prepared by 
being boiled, peeled, and chopped. If using dried peppers, they need to be soaked in 
hot water for 1 hour before being chopped.


    * 3 lbs. (1.3 kg) beef or other meat
    * 2 oz. (55 g) beef kidney suet
    * 4 chili pods (previously skinned and blistered, or else buy sun-dried chili 
    * 1 tablespoon dried oregano
    * 1 tablespoon crushed cumin seeds
    * 1 tablespoon salt
    * 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    * 1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce (optional but frequently included)
    * 2 garlic cloves, chopped (or more, to taste)
    * 2 heaping tablespoons masa harina

Many of the above quantities may be somewhat adjusted up or down, depending on personal 


   1. Sear beef in a little cooking oil (not lard) until lightly browned. Drop the 
seared beef, suet, and chile pods in a large iron skillet or pot (at least four 
quarts), and enough water (the reserved "pepper water" if you prepared the pods 
yourself) to keep the meat from burning. Bring to a boil, then lower heat, cover, and 
simmer about 30 minutes.
   2. Take pot off the stove and add spices and garlic. Put back on the stove, bring to 
a boil again, lower heat, and simmer another hour, keeping the lid on as much as 
possible. Stir when necessary, but remember that too much stirring will tear the meat. 
Add a little more water if anything seems seriously in danger of burning (but as little 
water as possible).
   3. Take pot off the stove and skim off all or most of the grease. (The old-timers 
left it all.) Mix in masa harina, which "tightens" or thickens the chili con carne and 
adds a subtle tamale-like flavor. Simmer about 30 minutes more, until meat is done. Do 
a lot of tasting during this time, (1) to adjust the seasoning, and (2) just because a 
chili cook should do a lot of tasting. Serves 6-8.

Notes, tips, and variations

    * The meat is simply bite-size - traditionally, it was the size of a pecan nut - or 
coarsely ground, with 1/2-inch plate holes in a meat grinder as standard. It must 
always be beef, venison, or other mature meats. Stewing meat also works well. Prime 
beef or veal, on the other hand, are not suitable for chili con carne, as they tend not 
to remain solid.
    * Many cooks omit the suet as being much too greasy, although it does add flavor.
    * Ancho or Anaheim peppers are recommended. For an "elevated" flavor, use four 
pepper pods per pound of meat; for a milder "beginners" version, use only 2-3 pods.
    * Chili powder is a barely adequate substitute in the original recipe, but lacks 
the subtle sting of the pods. A heaping teaspoon of chili powder is the approximate 
equivalent of one average-size chili pod.

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Recipe ID 64199 (Nov 18, 2007)

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