Friday, February 21, 2014

Texas Chili

This has been the kind of winter when you feel like eating chili every single day. It's been so cold, so snowy and icy, that warm and hearty meals are pretty much required. This is a very different chili from what I typically make and what my mom made when I was growing up. Being northerners, we usually use ground beef and add lots of beans and veggies. This however, is Texas chili. From what I've heard, Texans scoff at any chili that has beans and don't even consider it to be chili. I ripped this recipe out of my Food Network Magazine about a year ago and I'm glad I finally gave it a try. I don't know that this would necessarily replace my usual go-to recipe, but it was fun to switch it up for a change.

Just a note - I wrote the recipe below as it was in the magazine. However, I forgot to get masa harina when I did my shopping for this, so I just used cornstarch to help thicken it. Having never cooked with masa harina, I can't really say how it compares to cornstarch, but I've read that it not only thickens, but also adds flavor, which cornstarch really doesn't have. I'd be curious to try it the correct way some day.

Texas Chili
From the January/February 2013 issue of Food Network Magazine

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
6 lbs boneless beef chuck or shoulder, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
6 cloves garlic, minced
6 Tbsp chili powder
4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 cup flour
2 Tbsp dried oregano
4 (14 oz) cans low-sodium beef broth
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup masa harina (instant corn flour)
Optional toppings: chopped onions, shredded cheese, jalapenos   

Heat 1 Tbsp oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add half the beef and cook, stirring, until browned, about 4 minutes; transfer to a plate. Add the remaining 1 Tbsp oil to the pot and brown the remaining beef, then return the first batch to the pot. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the garlic.

Combine the chili powder, cumin and flour in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the meat in the pot and stir until evenly coated. Crumble in the oregano with your fingers, then add 3 cans of beef broth, 2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper; stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low; partially cover and simmer until the meat is just tender, about an hour and a half.

Whisk the remaining can of broth with the masa harina in a bowl to make a creamy paste; stir into the chili. Continue simmering over low heat until the meat is almost falling apart, 30 minutes to an hour, adding up to 2 cups of water if the chili gets too thick. Divide among bowls and add desired toppings.

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