Texas Ranch Chili
This Texas Ranch Chili is featured in Recipes from the President’s Ranch: Food People Like to Eat by Matthew Wendel. Andria Frankfort made a few tweaks, substituting 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder and 1 teaspoon New Mexico chili powder for the ground chilis, and masa for the cornstarch. She also cooked the chili, let it cool, then refrigerated it overnight in order to skim the fat off the top the next day before heating again. The chili serves 6 to 8.
Chili Powder ingredients:
4 medium dried ancho chili pods
4 medium dried New Mexico chili pods
2 tablespoons cumin seeds, toasted in a dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant, crushed
3 teaspoons dried oregano, preferably Mexican
½ cup water
4 pounds beef chuck roast, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 teaspoon salt
7 to 8 slices bacon, cut into ¼-inch pieces
1 medium onion, minced
4 to 5 small jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced
5 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons lime juice, freshly squeezed
7 cups water, plus 3 tablespoons
3 tablespoons cornstarch
Freshly ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the two types of chili pods on a cookie sheet and bake for about 6 minutes. They should be fragrant and puffed up. Cool the chilies and remove the seeds and stems. Tear into small pieces. Place the chilies in a coffee grinder that is dedicated to spices only, and process until they are a nice powder.
In a small bowl, mix the chili powder, cumin and oregano with water to form a thick paste. Set aside.
In a large bowl, mix the cubed beef with the salt.
In a large Dutch oven or stock pot, fry the bacon on medium-low heat until crisp. With a slotted spoon, remove the bacon and transfer to paper towels to drain. Pour the bacon fat into a small bowl, leaving 2 tablespoons of fat in the pot.
Sauté cubes of meat in small batches over medium-high heat until well browned on all sides. Make sure not to overcrowd the pot or the meat will not brown properly. Add more bacon fat if needed. Set aside in large bowl.
Reduce the heat to medium, and add 3 tablespoons more of the reserved bacon fat to the pot. Add the onion and sauté until soft. Add the jalapeños and garlic, and sauté for 1 minute more. Add the chili powder mixture and sauté 2 to 3 more minutes. Add the bacon, beef, tomatoes, lime juice and water. Stir and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Mix the cornstarch with 3 tablespoons of water to form a paste. Add to the chili to thicken. Continue to simmer for 15 more minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
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