Chili with an “i”
Before we learn how to make the Authentic Texas Chili Recipe, we need to learn how to spell it. Let’s get it strait right off the bat. Chili, the chunky soup type dish, is always spelled with an “i”. Chile with an “e” is the pepper that makes the Chili spicy. Thank you for letting me exorcise my demons.
A Brief History of Chili
The following history comes from “Chili History”
When it comes to the story of chili, tales and myths abound.
While many food historians agree that chili con carne is an American dish with Mexican roots, Mexicans are said to deny any association with the dish.
In the 1880s, a market in San Antonio started setting up chili stands from which chili or bowls o’red, as it was called, were sold by women who were called “chili queens.”
A bowl o’red cost diners such as writer O. Henry and democratic presidential hopeful William Jennings Bryan ten cents and included bread and a glass of water.
The fame of chili con carne began to spread and the dish soon became a major tourist attraction. It was featured at the World’s Fair in Chicago in 1893 at the San Antonio Chili Stand.
By the 20th century chili joints had made their debut in Texas and became familiar all over the west by the roaring ‘20s. In fact, by the end of that decade, there was hardly a town that didn’t have a chili parlour, which were often no more than a shed or a room with a counter and some stools.
It’s been said that chili joints meant the difference between starvation and staying alive during the Great Depression since chili was cheap and crackers were free.
LBJ’s Favorite Chili Recipe
Authentic Texas Chili
What You Will Need:
- 2 Pounds Ground Beef - Coarse grind 80/20 or Chuck Also Called Chili Grind in Texas
- Vegetable Oil - As Needed to brown the meat
- 2 Cups Sweet Onions - Chopped, either Texas Sweet or Vidalia Onions.
- 2 Tbsps Garlic - Minced. About 4 to 5 cloves
- 3 Tbsps Chili Powder
- 2 Tbsps Ground Cumin
- 1 Tbsp Smoked Paprika
- 1 Tbsps Mexican Oregano
- 2 tsps Salt
- 2 tsps Black Pepper
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 28 ounce Tomatoes - 1-28 Ounce Can of Crushed tomatoes
- 3 Tbsps Tomato Paste
- 2 cubes Bouillon cubes - Beef Flavor or equivalent of either liquid or powder bouillon
- 24 ounces Beer - 2 cans or bottles of a good full bodied beer. I use Tecate
- 1 Cup Water
- 2 Tbsps Masa - or white cornmeal as a thickening agent
- 6 to 8 quart sauce pan or stock pot
To Make The Chili
- In a 6-8 quart saucepan, over medium-high heat, brown the beef in batches so you do not crowd the pan. Remove the meat as it browns to a paper towel lined bowl to drain.
- Drain all but 1/4 cup of the fat in the pan, If you have very lean meat and there is not a 1/4 cup fat, add vegetable oil, as needed.
- Add the minced onion and cook, on medium, stirring occasionally, until it is browned and soft, about 10-12 minutes.
- Stir in garlic, chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika and oregano and cook, stirring constantly so as not to burn the spices, until the spices are fragrant and paste like. About 1-2 minutes.
- Return the browned beef to the saucepan and add the salt, pepper, bay leaves, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, bouillon, 1 bottle or can of the beer and 1 cup of water. Then simmer for 20 minutes.
- Add the remaining beer, another cup of water, and the cornmeal or masa. Simmer 30-40 minutes longer, stirring occasionally, until chili is thick. Do not turn the heat up so high it burns the bottom of the Chili.
- Serve with any toppings you like.
Variations and Companion Dishes
- Try combining ground beef and pork for more depth of flavor
- Most of the first Chili recipes used venison as the meat of choice. Venison is much leaner than beef or pork.
- Yankee Chili includes kidney beans, pinto beans or white beans. The addition of beans makes for a less expensive chili.
- There are Chili recipes that don’t have meat at all. Just beans, onions, tomatoes and chile peppers.