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A Cooking Adventure with Thom

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"Texas Red" Chili con Carne

Serves: 6




This is an authentic chili. It even complies with Texas law (which prohibits making chili with beans). Most championship chili recipes use some tomato paste or tomato sauce. This one doesn't and is reputed to be an authentic recreation of chili as served to drovers and hands in the days of the trail drives, where chili is alleged to have originated.



3 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1" cubes and trimmed
1 tablespoon bacon drippings
6 dried ancho peppers
2 cups cold water
1 tablespoon oregano
3 cups water
1 tablespoon cumin seeds, crushed
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons cayenne
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2 tablespoons masa harina

Cooking Method

Put the meat through the coarse blade of a meat grinder. 

  1. Brown in small batches in the bacon fat in a large skillet over moderately high heat. 

  2. Transfer the cooked meat to a second large heavy skillet using a slotted spoon.

  3. Set aside. 

Wash the peppers in cold water. 

  1. Discard the stems and seeds. 

  2. Tear the peppers into 2" pieces. 

  3. Place the pieces in a small sauce pan with the first measure of (cold) water.

  4. Cover.

  5. Simmer 20 minutes.

Drain, reserving the cooking water. 

  1. Peel the skin from the peppers. 

  2. Place in the work bowl of a food processor. 

  3. Add the reserved water.  Puree with short pulses. 

  4. Mix the pepper puree into the beef. 

  5. Add the second measure of water.  Bring to a boil over high heat. 

  6. Reduce heat to a slow simmer. 

  7. Cover. 

  8. Simmer for 30 minutes. 

  9. Stir in all the remaining ingredients except the masa harina. 

  10. Cover. 

  11. Simmer 45 minutes. 

  12. Mix in the masa harina. 

  13. Cover. 

  14. Reduce heat to the lowest possible. 

  15. Cook 30 minutes longer, stirring occasionally so that the mixture doesn't stick.

  16. If too thick, thin with small amounts of boiling water. 


819 Mountshire Terrace, Chester, Virginia 23836 Phone: (804) 530-1183