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Mat's Homemade Texas-Style Chili

Mat's Homemade Texas-Style Chili

This week I decided to make a big ol' bowl of Texas-style Chili and share the cooking process on our Instagram story. I ended up receiving loads of requests to save the story to our profile but I thought ill do one better and share the recipe right here as our first blog post!

A classic bowl of Texas Red Chili is simply beef and hot peppers simmered to perfection, but there's no one recipe for the dish and no incorrect one. It's one of those dishes that no matter who you ask, their version is definitive and the best. 

I must also mention that calling this dish "Texas Chili", especially as an Australian that lives so far away from the great state is clearly asking for trouble, but this recipe is what I have used for years and is my take on it. I'm not saying this is the best chili recipe out there, but this one one that I personally enjoy and I hope you do too. 

Before we start, lets have a look at some Equipment that you will need for this dish:

  • A large, heavy-bottomed wide pot or Dutch oven. Enamelled cast-iron maybe best, because if you find yourself making chili with tomatoes in a plain cast-iron pot, the fruits acidity may react poorly with the metal leaving the chili with an off taste. A heavy stainless pot will do, as will an aluminium one if you're careful not to let the bottom of the chili burn.

  • A food processor, blender or spice grinder. You can make a credible chili with ground chile powder or you can certainly make one with fresh chilies as well. But we believe the best way is to make a chili with a mixture of fresh and ground chilies either toasted and ground in a spice grinder, or simmered in stock.

  • A Mortar and Pestle. Ground cumin from the store will work just fine, as will ground coriander, if you are using it. But the flavour you get by freshly toasted spices smashed in a mortar is impossible to beat!

Ok lets get into it!

Mat's Homemade Texas-Style Chili

This recipe will make you about 12 servings and take around 2-4hrs to complete, depending on how long you cook it down for.

INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds
1.8kg beef chuck roast or steak
1 teaspoon salt, more to taste
3 rashes of streaky bacon
Vegetable oil as needed
1 large yellow or white onion, chopped, plus extra chopped onion for serving
6 large garlic cloves, minced
4 to 7 large fresh green jalapeños (depending on how much heat you like), stemmed and chopped
3 tablespoons masa harina (optional)
2 tablespoons ground pure chile powder, such as pasilla or ancho
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 bottle Negra Modelo beer
1 800g can diced tomatoes, or 3 283g cans Ro-Tel canned tomatoes with green chiles
30g unsweetened chocolate
3 whole dried large red chiles, such as guajillo
Chopped fresh coriander, for serving
Fritos or corn chips, for serving

PREPARATION

Step 1
In a small heavy skillet, toast cumin and coriander seeds until fragrant. In a mortar and pestle grind to a powder and set aside.

Step 2
Meanwhile, roughly cut beef into 5cm cubes, or slice it against the grain into pieces about 0.5cm thick by 3.5cm square. Sprinkle with salt.

Step 3
In a large, heavy pot over high heat, cook bacon until crispy and the pan is full of bacon fat. Chop bacon into small pieces and set aside.

Step 4
Working in batches to avoid crowding the pan brown the beef, turning occasionally until crusty. Adjust heat to prevent scorching. As it is cooked, remove the meat to drain on paper towels. Add more oil as needed for browning, but do not clean out the pot.

Step 5
To the empty but crusty pot, add onion, garlic, jalapeños, masa harina, chile powder, cumin-coriander powder and oregano. Cook, stirring until onion has softened, 5 to 10 minutes. Add beef, bacon, beer, tomatoes, chocolate, whole dried chiles and 1 litre water. Bring to a gentle simmer and simmer about 2-3 hours, or until meat is fork-tender. Remove the dried chiles. Taste and add salt if necessary. 

Step 6
Serve immediately or let cool and refrigerate. The chili tastes best one or two days after it is made.

The chili's done, but don't eat it yet! As with gumbo and beef stew, chili is a dish that benefits from an overnight 'cure' in the refrigerator. Reheat gently on the stovetop or in a low oven when you're ready to eat, and top it with an or all of these fixings.

Fruit, Vegetables & Herbs

  • Chopped onion and spring onion are a great bet, as are avocado slices or even better homemade guacamole.
  • Cut through the dish's richness with fresh tomatoes and fresh coriander leaves.
  • Personally I love a vinegary hit and recommend to top with pickled jalapeños or red onions

Dairy

  • To mellow your chili's heat, pair it with a spoonful of sour cream, or some plain greek yoghurt.
  • Shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese can add a mellow saltiness.
  • For something different consider a fried egg, it turns last nights chili dinner into a hearty breakfast.

Starches

  • Pour the chili over rice, either white or brown or even spaghetti or warm and creamy grits.
  • Top it with corn or tortilla chips, we love Fritos! (Or, put the chilli on top of Fritos for a Frito pie.)
  • Serve it with warm tortillas or some cornbread.

That's it guys, if you do take some time to make this dish please tag @matshotshop on instagram so we can see how it turned out! Also let us know in the comments what you think of the dish and if you made any changes.

To round this out i've put together a list of 3 sauces that I think will match perfectly at all different heat levels. These sauces will definitely take this dish to a whole new level and I recommend you trying all of them if you can, Hot Sauce is a perfect pairing for chili so dig in and keep it spicy!

MILD

Humble House - Ancho & Morita 

MEDIUM

Hoff & Pepper - Smoken Ghost 

EXTRA HOT

13 Angry Scorpions - Jekyll & Hyde Private Reserve

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