Texas Chili Recipes

Over a three week period I made three batches of chili, starting on what seemed to be on the right path based on researching online, and then tweaking a bit. If you’re looking for inspiration to cook, be sure to scroll down to recipe #3. It’s the best one. This whole odyssey began with my Texas Chili Project post a few weeks ago, so if you’re interested in the history and culture of Texas chili, start there.

Texas Chili Recipe #1

Texas Chili Recipe #1: the First Attempt.
Texas Chili Recipe #1: the First Attempt.

Ingredients

The Beef

3 pounds of sirloin steak, cut into small cubes (about ¼ to ⅓ of an inch cube)

The Chilies

3 oz package of dried New Mexico chilies, seeded and stemmed

2 oz. package of dried Ancho chilies, seeded and stemmed.

1 oz package of ground Pasilla Molido chili powder

1 T Ground Cayanne Pepper

The Remaining Ingredients

2 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 medium yellow onion, diced medium fine

1 12 oz can of Campbell’s beef consomme

1 ½ t Kosher Salt

¼ t Ground Black Pepper

1 T Onion Powder

1 T Garlic Powder

1 T Ground Cumin

1 T Ground Coriander Seed

1 t Ground Cinnamon

½ C Apple Cider Vinegar

Method

Boil the whole dried chilies in 1 quart of water for about 5 minutes to soften. Puree in a blender until very smooth (this is key, I discovered, or you get bits of unpalatable pepper skin in your chili).

Saute onion in the olive oil and a pinch of salt until translucent. Add the beef, black pepper, and the remaining salt. Cook until mostly browned. Add the onion and garlic powder, stir. Then add the chili puree, the ground chili powders. Bring to a simmer and cook for 1 hour covered. Add water if it gets too thick.

After an hour, add the remaining powdered ingredients (I don’t know if it really matters, but I read a recipe in which cumin and coriander are added later because they can burn in the stew). Cook for about another hour. Keep adding water so you end up with a nice chili consistency–not too soupy but not too thick.

Notes

  1. This was an admirable first attempt, I think. Nice amount of heat (although I could go quite a bit hotter), and super flavorful. I gobbled it up in pretty short order.
  2. Apparently you can overcook chili until the meat gets mushy. My two hours seemed to work well. The sirloin was very tender but not mushy.

  3. Without the cayanne the chili isn’t very hot (it’s fairly sweet). I found that 1 T of cayanne gave it a nice heat without being really hot (for my taste–it would be too hot for some). I might even add a bit more next time if it was just for me, but this amount is probably good for ‘company’.

  4. Most recipes do not include the cider vinegar,but I found the chili was a bit bland and muddy tasting without it. It really needed some acid. Adding the vinegar was key in my view.

  5. I didn’t puree the chiles well enough, so I had some bits of New Mexico chili skin in the chili, which wasn’t a good texture. Need to be sure to puree those well.

For Next Time:

  1. A bit of ground clove?

  2. Try a Tri-Tip roast for the beef?

  3. Some recipes have a bit of brown sugar to sweeten the chili. This could be good.

  4. I’ve seen some deglazing with tequila (mabye a few ounces).

  5. Some Texas chili recipes have hasa flour in it.

  6. Some versions have tomato sauce and beef and chicken “granules” (buillion, I assume).

  7. Most “award winning” chili recipes have Goya Sazon in it (it’s a mix of MSG, Annato, gatlic, cumin, salt, and artificial coloring)..

  8. Bit of coffee?

  9. Toast the dried chilies before rehydrating them.

Texas Chili Recipe #2: Leaning in the ‘Contest Chili’ Direction.

I read a lot of award winning chili competition chili recipes and decided to make a batch that stirs in that direction. I decided to try the MSG (Goya Sazon) and some chicken bouillon (lots of contest chilis have it). Also, last time I didn’t puree my chilis enough and ended up with unpleasant bits of New Mexico chili skin in the final product. So I was careful to puree the chilis well. Most competition chilies seem to use powdered chili and chili mixes exclusively, but I just couldn’t bring myself to go a fully processed route. See my post about my Texas Chili Project for more on this.

The recipe is essentially the same as recipe #1 with the following differences:

  1. I replaced the 1 oz package of ground Pasilla Molido chili powder with a 1 oz package of ground Hot New Mexico chili powder.
  2. I added 1 Knorr chicken bouillon cube (all the cool kids are doing it).

  3. I added 1 packet of Sazón Goya con Culantro y Achiote (a fairly ubiquitous ingredient in competition chili).

  4. I added 1/4 cup of brown sugar.

Notes

  1. Not nearly as good as the first batch in my opinion. It had an odd, I don’t know, chemical like flavor. I think it must have been the Sazón Goya.
  2. It was a bit too sweet for my taste. I think the brown sugar addition was fine, but I’d back off on the amount next time. Maybe just a big tablespoonful. 
  3. I decided to go the other direction for the next batch (rustic homestyle rather than competition powdered concoction).

Texas Chili Recipe #3: The Best of the Bunch.

Texas Chili Recipe #3 is a winner.
Texas Chili Recipe #3 is a winner.

This final recipe was the best. I’m pretty satisfied to use it as a master recipe. I also owe a debt of gratitude to the Homesick Texan, who argues it’s perfectly acceptable to experiment a bit with chili, and that you needn’t be so anal retentive about it. You can mix it up every time, using different chilis, and varying the spices. He also puts coffee in his chili, which I’ll likely try next, and Mexican chocholate (which is a no-no to some because it reads like Mexican mole). I think what I like best about his approach is simply that it embraces my own instincts about a dish like chili. He’s got what looks like an awesome recipe here.

I ground my own spices where possible, but one noteworthy point is that I forgot to toast my chilies before soaking them. I’ll do that next time. I also tried a chuck roast rather than sirloin this time. The chuck is fattier, so it’s probably not as texturally uniform for competition chili, but I like it better. Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

The Beef

3 pounds of chuck roast, cut into small cubes (about ¼ to ⅓ of an inch cube)

The Chilies

3 oz package of dried New Mexico chilies, seeded and stemmed

2 oz. package of dried Ancho chilies, seeded and stemmed.

2 oz package of Chil Negro Entero (chil pods), seeded and stemmed.

1 T Ground Cayanne Pepper

The Remaining Ingredients

2 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 medium yellow onion, diced medium fine

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 12 oz can of Campbell’s beef consomme

First Dump (with the chilis)

1 ½ t Kosher Salt

¼ t Ground Black Pepper

1 T Onion Powder

1 T Garlic Powder

Second Dump (after one hour)

1 T Ground Cumin

1 T Ground Coriander Seed

1 t Ground Cinnamon

1 t Ground Allspice

½ C Apple Cider Vinegar

1 T Brown Sugar

Method

Boil the whole dried chilies in 1 quart of water for about 5 minutes to soften. Puree in a blender until very smooth (this is key or you get bits of unpalatable pepper skin in your chili).

Saute onion in the olive oil and a pinch of salt until translucent. Add minced garlic for a few minutes. Add the beef, black pepper, and the remaining salt. Cook until mostly browned. Add the onion and garlic powder, stir. Then add the chili puree. Bring to a simmer and cook for 1 hour covered. Add water if it gets too thick.

After an hour, add the remaining powdered ingredients and the sugar and cider vinegar.. Cook for about another hour, or until the meat is very tender. Keep adding water so you end up with a nice chili consistency–not too soupy but not too thick.

Notes

  1. I don’t care for the sweet gravy, but a bit of sugar takes out a slight bitter edge I detect. A tablespoon was just about right.

  2. I cut the chuck roast into slightly larger cubes because of the grain of that cut (tiny cubes don’t come out so well). The chuck has a bit more fat than the sirloin, which I think is a no-no for chili competitions, but I don’t care. The original Chili Queens recipe has ¼ C of Suet and ¼ of Lard.

  3. Added raw garlic due to preference for scratch cooking. I contemplated leaving out the onion and garlic powders as a result, but decided against it last minute. They’ve got a different flavor than the raw stuff.

  4. This shit is da bomb.

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3 thoughts on “Texas Chili Recipes

  1. Try using tri-tip for the beef. Put in the freezer until it is nice and firm not rock hard. Cut into 3/8-1/2′ cubes. perfect for a two hour simmer. if you are interested I will send you a copy of my competition recipe.not the best but good enough for 4 top five finishes in the ICS Red Chili World Championships.

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