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Major Nikon

(36,870 posts)
Mon Jan 6, 2014, 04:23 PM Jan 2014

Chili con carne

Last edited Mon Jan 6, 2014, 05:26 PM - Edit history (1)

How hot you want your chili depends on what pepper you use and how you prepare them. My family doesn't like hot stuff, so I have to make my chili on the mild side and add red pepper flakes at the table if I want it hotter. I do this by removing all the seeds and the white connective tissue from the jalapenos, which removes most of the the heat from them (use rubber gloves when working with peppers). I also remove the seeds from the dried New Mexico chilis. This makes for a pretty mild chili, but still retains a lot of chili flavor without which you wouldn't have chili con carne. You can use whatever peppers you want both dried and fresh. The ones I list are easy to find in my area. For the spice grinder I use a whirly bird type coffee grinder that I dedicate to grinding spices. You can also use a blender or a food processor. Just remember that when grinding peppers, don't stick your nose in the spice grinder immediately after grinding unless you want to pepper spray yourself (trust me on this one). Beans in chili are a somewhat controversial subject. Sometimes I add them, and sometimes I don't. There's nothing non-authentic about beans in chili con carne (not that my recipe is exactly authentic). The recipe was derived from Native American cooks that didn't write anything down and as beans were certainly available to them, the idea that they wouldn't have used beans from time to time is not a good one. Some chili competitions forbid the inclusion of beans, but this has nothing to do with the authenticity or lack thereof of any recipe.

2 lbs flank steak
3 medium jalapano peppers
2 cloves garlic
3 large dried New Mexico red chile
2 tsp whole cumin seeds
1 tsp smoked paprika

1 Tbs vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tsp + 1 pinch salt
1 can (400g) chopped San Marzano tomatoes
12 oz beer (I usually use Shiner Bock)

2 cans (15oz) dark red kidney beans (optional)
Crushed white corn tortilla chips

Slice the flank steak up into 2" squares, place into a food processor 1lb at a time and pulse to desired consistency. I like to give it about 10 good pulses so that the meat resembles ground beef, but you still have a few bigger chunks. Place the meat into a large mixing bowl. Place the jalapenos and garlic into the food processor and pulse until minced then add to the mixing bowl. Slice the dried chili into ~ 1/4" squares and place into a spice grinder(see above) along with the whole cumin seed and grind to a fine consistency. Sprinkle the freshly ground chili and cumin onto the meat mixture along with the smoked paprika and mix by hand until well combined. Place the meat mixture into a 1 gal ziplock bag and place in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours.

Over medium heat, cook the chopped onions in the vegetable oil along with a pinch of salt until translucent. Add the meat mixture and cook until browned, stirring every 2 minutes or so. Add the tomatoes, beer, salt, and bring the entire mixture to a simmer. Simmer covered over low heat for 30 minutes.

Add the kidney beans at this point as you wish. Thicken the chili as desired with the crushed tortilla chips.

11 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
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(10,129 posts)
1. A happy accident I stumbled upon a few years ago...
Mon Jan 6, 2014, 04:32 PM
Jan 2014

Was using leftover smoked brisket in my chili. The smokiness it imparted into the chili was just outstanding.

Major Nikon

(36,870 posts)
2. I've seen a few different ways people impart smoked flavor into their chili
Mon Jan 6, 2014, 04:34 PM
Jan 2014

I've tried some of it and think it's a good idea. I use smoked paprika to give it a bit of smoke flavor, but I haven't tried experimenting much with this.

Major Nikon

(36,870 posts)
6. I can remember my dad making Wick Fowler's over 40 years ago
Mon Jan 6, 2014, 11:49 PM
Jan 2014

His kit became famous after winning the first chili cook off in Terlingua (they still have a chili competition there every year since). It's pretty big here in Texas.


(54,270 posts)
8. If you can find it, get a copy of "The Great Chili Confrontation".
Tue Jan 7, 2014, 07:46 PM
Jan 2014

It's by humorist H. Allen Smith, and it is hilarious.
I'm sure it's out of print.
I have a yellowed paperback.
Maybe your library?

It's all about the first Great Chili Cookoff in Terlingua.

Major Nikon

(36,870 posts)
10. I've never read it
Tue Jan 7, 2014, 08:36 PM
Jan 2014

My dad may have had it once upon a time. He went to Terlingua at least once that I know about. I haven't been but have thought about going. I know several people who have been and say it's a great time.

I've flown over it at low altitude, but when the cookoff is not going on there's not much to see.


(106,886 posts)
4. I like plain chili - pintos, corn, jalapenos, tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, etc. Meat on the side.
Mon Jan 6, 2014, 09:22 PM
Jan 2014

Simmered while the beef or pork cooks. Bean chili with BBQ.


(50,130 posts)
5. a handful of masa will give you a better thickener than tortilla chips, methinks.
Mon Jan 6, 2014, 11:44 PM
Jan 2014

I always sprinkle it in toward the end of the cooking time.

Major Nikon

(36,870 posts)
7. The reason I use white corn tortilla chips is because they are made out of masa
Mon Jan 6, 2014, 11:55 PM
Jan 2014

Masa is the traditional thickening ingredient for chili and it does work well. If I have it on hand, that's what I use but I usually won't buy a bag of masa just to thicken chili. I will buy it sometimes when I make homemade tortillas.

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