Beef Chili Recipe

April 4, 2015
Beef Chili Recipe

One of my chefs grew up in Texas with a father who was a frequent chili cook-off contestant .  Chili cook-offs are a seriously big deal in Texas.  Most chili contests follow the Tolbert Rules (including no firearms or nudity y’all).   My chef told me that real Texas chili does not have “floaters”.  In other words, no beans, rice or pasta, and no identifiable pieces of vegetable or seasoning.  I like my chili to have a bit of heft, so my recipe has beans as well as chunks of vegetables.  (I’m sure I would be ridden out of Texas on rails if I admitted that I sometimes add some pineapple to my chili too.)  The most important thing I learned from my old chef about chili is to use chunks of beef, not ground beef.  This makes all the difference.  I use what the butcher calls “finger meat”, an unfortunate moniker for the beautifully marbled and delicious meat that is removed from between the ribs when a prime rib of beef is “frenched”.  Don’t trim the fat or the tissue from the meat; just skim the fat from the cooked chili later.

I use a very large enameled cast iron Lodge Dutch oven, but any large thick-bottomed pot that can go in the oven works too.

While your chili is cooking, listen to this playlist from James Bay and read my rant about wine snobs

Beef Chili Recipe (Chile con Carne)

Beef Chili Recipe
You Have Been Served:
  • 2 lbs. beef
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 bottles of dark beer
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 4 tbsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 4 heaping tbsp honey
  • 1 can cooked black beans
  • Garnish
  • grated sharp cheddar
  • sour cream
  • cilanto, chopped
  • lime wedges
  1. preheat oven to 350F
  2. chop beef into small cubes, about ½" square (photo 1)
  3. heat vegetable oil in large pot over medium high heat, add meat and brown well
  4. add remaining ingredients (except black beans and garnish) (photo 2 and 3)
  5. mix well and season to taste (if you like your chili spicier, you can add more chipotle peppers, or hot sauce, or chopped jalapeno)
  6. cover pot and put on bottom rack of oven
  7. cook about one hour, remove from oven and taste; adjust seasoning if necessary, adding more spice if you like
  8. cook an additional two hours or so, until the colour is deep, the sauce is thick and the meat is tender
  9. stir in black beans (photo 4)
  10. serve over raw spinach and garnish with cheese, sour cream, chopped cilantro and lime wedges (photo 5)
chili con carne

photo 1

chili con carne

photo 2

chili con carne

photo 3

chili con carne

photo 4

chili con carne

photo 5

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