Texas-Style Chili

I won’t get into a heated debate as to whether Texas chili contains tomato or beans. As far as I have read, seen and heard – Texas chili does NOT include beans. I have yet to conclude if tomatoes are no-go as well, but my recipe is not an authentic Texas chili, but Texas-style, therefore I have included tomatoes, but not beans. The tomatoes give – in my opinion – a richer flavour. The trick is though to have the tomato flavour be a subtle one, as the beef should be front and center, along with a spicy kick from the chipotle and red chilies.

Call it Texas chili, chili con carne or just simply chili. It’s a good hearty dish, relatively easy to make and can feed a lot of people. You don’t really need a good cut of meat – as in expensive cut. You can do with a cheap cut, that’s really the magic of this recipe.

Texas-Style Chili (for 4 persons)

1 ½ – 2 lb. (700g) Cubed beef (i.e. boneless beef chuck) Cubes cut into 1 inch pieces
1 red bell pepper finely chopped
1 onion finely chopped
1 garlic clove finely chopped
1 red chili finely chopped (seeds and all)
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp brown sugar

1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 beer* (12 oz. – 355 ml.)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chipotle powder
1 cup (250 ml.) beef stock
1 thumb size piece of dark chocolate
corn starch to thicken (optional)

a couple of drops of brown food colouring (optional)

For garnish:
chopped onions
grated cheddar cheese
sour cream
mashed avocado

Serve with:
warm flour tortillas and tortilla chips
lime wedges
hot sauce

*A brown ale works well with this dish. I used a Brooklyn Brown Ale by Brooklyn Brewery, but a Newcastle Brown work well too. A dark lager would also be a good choice. Just make sure the it’s not too bitter.

Saute onions, bell pepper, garlic and chili in a dutch oven for a couple of minutes. Add the beef cubes and a brown them up a bit. Add beer, worcestershire, brown sugar and cumin. Stir for a few minutes. Add tomato paste, canned tomatoes, beef stock and chipotle powder. Put a lid on the dutch oven and cook for 1 ½ – 2 hours or until the beef cubes are fork tender. Stir in chocolate 20 minutes before the chili is finished, and add corn starch if you need to thicken the chili. Add a few drops of brown food colouring for a more brown-ish colour.

Serve chili in a bowl and garnish with onions, cheese, sour cream and avocado. And serve with tortillas, chips, a squeeze of lime and hot sauce for some extra heat.

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