“Real” Texas Red Chili

by

From reader Lonnie in Texas:

Ingredients:

3 pounds lean beef
1/8 pound rendered beef kidney suet (if you want to go for it)
1 teaspoon each oregano, cumin powder, salt, cayenne pepper, and Tabasco
3 tablespoons chili powder (optional)
4 3 or 4 hot chili peppers, two chopped cloves of garlic
2 teaspoons masa harina, cornmeal, or flour (optional)*
* The masa adds a subtle, tamale-like taste, but it also thickens the chili.

Preparation:

Sear beef in a large soup pot or cast-iron Dutch oven. You may need a little oil to prevent the meat from sticking. When the meat is all gray, add suet and chili peppers and about two inches of liquid (you can use water, I use beer). Simmer for 30 minutes. Add spices and garlic, bring just to boil; lower heat and simmer for 45 minutes. NOTE: Add more liquid only to keep the mix from burning. Skim off as much grease as you can, although I think it is what makes the chili, and add masa harina. Simmer for another 30 minutes. Taste and adjust spices if necessary. This is a spicy chili, so leave out some of the spicy stuff in the beginning if you have a tender tongue. At this point, I refrigerate the chili overnight which allows the chili to mellow and you can skim off all the grease.

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