Believe it or not, I won a chili contest five years ago at Mt Ashwabay. And believe it or not, I didn’t write down the recipe. I have tried to recreate that award-winning chili ever since, with little to no success. I remembered it was Texas chili (no beans), I used dried chiles and I threw a couple of shots of bourbon in the pot— not much to go on but as I sat down with my iPad, it was enough to get started.
There are strict guidelines for Texas Red and the most important can be summed up in two hard and fast rules— no beans and no tomatoes. In my search for the recipe I used five years ago, I read endless recipes, tips and treatises on a proper bowl of chili— everything from the benefits of using dried chilies as opposed to powder to adding tempeh to the pot (not very Texan, if you ask me). I settled on a hybrid of chili meets Mexican mole for my bowl of Texas Red— 7 different kinds of chilies, strong coffee, Bock beer, crushed tomatoes and dark chocolate. No bourbon in this batch but that’s okay— it’s better on ice anyways.
It was everything I remembered and more— a hint of smokiness from the chipotles, a deeply flavored sauce from the tomatoes, beer and coffee, tender chucks of beef and a beautiful dark mahogany color. If there is another chili competition in my future, I think I have a winner on my hands.
Seriously Good Texas Chili
5 dried Ancho chilies
12 dried Japon chilies
8 dried Guajillos chilies
6 dried New Mexico chilies
2 Anaheim chilies, seeded and chopped
3 Poblano chilies, seeded and chopped
6 tbsp. butter
8 pounds of beef chuck, cubed in 1 – 2 inch cubes
4 onions, chopped
12 cloves garlic, chopped
4 tbsp. cumin
4 tsp. coriander
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. cloves
2 28 ounce cans of crushed tomatoes
1 can of chipotle en adobo
2 cups beef broth
2 bottles of Bock beer
2 cups dark roast coffee, I used Big Water Snowplow Winter Blend
2 tbsp. kosher salt
1 disk of Taza Guajillo Mexican chocolate (about 1.5 ounces)
De-seed the dried chilies and heat them in a dry sauté pan on medium heat for a couple of minutes on each side. Turn off the heat and then add enough water to the skillet to cover the chilies, and let them soak for about 45 minutes.
Place the cubed beef in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. In a large sauté pan, heat 4 tablespoons of butter over medium high heat and place the seasoned beef cubes in the pan (you will probably have three or four batches of beef cubes). After the beef has browned on all sides, place in a bowl and set aside. In the same pan that you cooked the beef, add the chopped onions and cook for 7 – 10 minutes or until softened and golden brown. Add the garlic, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and cloves and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Heat the large sauté pan (that you cooked the beef and onions in ) over medium heat, add the butter, chopped Poblano and Anaheim peppers and sauté for 10 minutes or until the peppers are softened but not browned. Lower the heat to medium and add the onion/spice mixture, beer and coffee to the pan, stir to combine and simmer for 5 minutes.
In a large dutch oven or stockpot, add the beef and any accumulated juices and the onion/spice mixture and place on the stove over medium heat. Drain the dried chilies that were soaking in the water and place in a blender with the can of chipotles and 2 cups of beef broth. Process until smooth and add to the dutch oven. When chili begins to boil, turn heat down to low and let simmer, covered, for five hours or so, stirring occasionally. If it starts to look too dry, add more beer or beef broth.
About an hour before you plan to serve the chili, finely grate the Taza Mexican hot chocolate disc and add it to the chili. Thoroughly mix to combine, remove the cover and continue to simmer. Serve it with sour cream, cheddar cheese and chopped green onion.