Friday, November 5, 2010

My New Chili Recipe

[Posted in response to Sarah, with apologies in advice: this turned out to be a damn dissertation.]

Usually I'm put off by bloggers who post recipes saying, "OMG this thing I made was the best thing EVER!"  So I won't claim that this chili was spectacular, but I can tell you that I tried a new method this year and was pretty encouraged by the results.

I had always used ground beef for chili, because that's what my mom used, because that's really the easiest thing.  But lately I've converted to the Church of Chunked Beef, and I'm not looking back.  I also added a secret ingredient this year, which will be revealed below.

Since you didn't ask: I am unfamiliar with the use of any kind of produce in the making of chili.  Fresh onions, tomatoes, etc. have no place here.  And I will not even discuss beans.  If you want to move to Russia and pledge allegiance to Stalin, that's your business.

So yeah, the recipe:
2 lbs. pot roast (i.e. chuck roast)
1/2 cup chili powder
4 tsp. cumin
1 Tablespoon dried onion
2 tsp. paprika 
1 tsp. ground red pepper (cayenne)
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
one (3.3 oz) tablet of Ibarra hot chocolate, grated
1.5 cups beer
1 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup tap water
2 Tablespoons masa harina*
1/2 cup hot water

Cut the roast into 1-inch pieces and put these in a Dutch oven.  Add the spices (including the chocolate) and toss to coat the beef.  Brown the meat (in batches, if needed), then add the beer, tomato sauce and tap water. Cook this for a looooong time, at a looooow temperature.  [If you have one of those crockpots that you can use to saute on the stovetop, more power to you.]  I cooked mine in the oven at 200 degrees for about 9 hours.

20 minutes before you're ready to serve, heat up the 1/2 cup of water, and add the masa to it, whisking vigorously with a fork.  Add this masa mixture to the chili.  While you're there, you might want to shred the meat a bit; that's how I like mine.  Let the chili cook a little while longer.  Then it's done.

*I have heard that, if you don't have any masa handy, you can just pop in a corn tortilla and leave it in the chili for the last bit of cooking.  I've never tried that, but it sounds reasonable.

Since I was serving kids and adults at the party, I split the difference between queso and Frito pie:  I set out the chili along with Fritos, tortilla chips and Ro-Tel dip (and of course sour cream).  I can't see how Ro-Tel dip is not an improvement on grated Longhorn cheddar cheese in this application, especially since the latter tends to get tacky when it's left out on the buffet.  But if you feel differently, knock yourself out.

And since you also didn't ask: if I'm just making chili for dinner at home, I skip all those other accoutrements and eat it with white rice and Saltines.  I'm not at all clear on the evolution of that particular combo, but I promise it's how lots of people eat it.


  1. First off, thanks for linking to my crazy shredded chicken mole Frito pie recipe. I really appreciate it.

    Secondly, I'm with you on the chuck roast for chili. Growing up as a kid, somehow I got it into my head that they would never grind up the "good" meat and it wasn't until I was almost thirty before I started eating ground meat again. (Considering we lived near working ranches in Wyoming, I have no idea why I thought that.) So anyone starting with whole beef wins in my book.

    When I bought the mole for my chili, I looked long and hard at the Iberra on the shelf below it in Albertson's. Did I want my chili to be more chocolately this time? I passed on it, but I think I might experiment with it more in the future. (Stuff makes the best hot chocolate anyway, so it's not like it's a waste to buy a whole box it.) Probably holds up better to the beef than plain mole would in this case.

    I've heard the same thing about putting tortillas, so that seems right. Mole paste has crackers in it.

    I know my chili had some produce in it, but that's how I make most soups, stews and chilies; more veggies and beans than called for. Mostly because I like to make the batches bigger without changing the taste or significantly adding to the calorie content. (I'm a very small lady who loves to eat a lot of food. If I don't made a dish more filling, I will be face-first in the Fritos for the rest of the night.)

    Saltines (or oyster crackers) and rice is how I grew up eating chili. Love the combination.

    Sorry I rambled on so long in the comments. Next time I make a beef chili, I'll try out your recipe.

  2. My mother always made her chili with ground beef and red beans and served it over grits. We always had chili one night, then spaghetti the next. I was out of high school before I learned that spaghetti wasn't supposed to have beans in it. Thanks for sharing the recipe--

  3. Looks like a decent recipe for a quick chili. I'm with you on the beans. I have a totally different recipe for chili beans, but I don't call it chili.