Wednesday, February 04, 2009

A more precise Texas chili recipe

chiliI love to buy chiles, especially when I find ones that are soft and pliant, so fresh you can imagine they were drying in a Mexican field maybe just last week.

I have to be careful, however, when shopping because my storage space is very limited. And the other day when I opened my cabinet, out came tumbling three bags of chiles that hit me on the head. I then realized that I needed to make something that would use up a lot of my supply. Fortunately, there was a big football game and nothing pleases people watching winter sports more than a big bowl of spicy red chili.

Now, I’ve written about chili before and provided you with general guidelines on how I make my chili. I don’t use beans, I don’t use tomatoes but most importantly, I don’t use measurements. It works for me, but can be frustrating if you’ve never made chili and desire more strict instructions.

chiliSo for this batch, I decided to multi-task and wrote down what I was adding to the pot when I made my what I dubbed my seven-chile chili. Of course, there were a couple of mishaps—I added way too many ground cloves in the beginning and accidentally added cardamom instead of coriander during one spice addition. But the best thing about chili is that the longer it cooks, the flavors both deepen and blend into a complex dish where the sum of the bowl is greater than its parts.

People often ask if my chili is authentic Texas chili. I’ll say yes because I’m a Texan and it’s the chili I grew up eating. Though defining what authentic Texas chili is can be difficult. The term “chili” comes from chile con carne, which translates to peppers with meat. And that’s at heart what I make, with the addition of some spices and aromatics. But there have been some grumbles.

Some people have grumbled because there’s cinnamon and chocolate in my chili, though these flavors are commonly found in Mexican cuisine. Some people have grumbled because there aren’t tomatoes in my chili, though I don’t think that cowboys on the range had access to tomatoes all the time. And some people have grumbled because I don’t use Gebhardt’s Chili Powder, though I can’t buy that in New York and using fresh chiles will trump chili powder any day.

chili

But no matter what people say, I love my chili and usually, those that eat it love it, too. So here is some of my chili with measurements. Enjoy!

Seven-chile chili
Ingredients:
6 anchos
2 pasilla
2 costeñas
2 guajillos
4 chiles de arbol
4 pieces of bacon
4 pounds of chuck roast, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1 large onion diced
6 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 cup of brewed coffee
1 bottle of beer
2 cups of water
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp clove
1/2 tsp allspice
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tablespoon cumin
(For all spices, please feel free to add more to taste throughout cooking if you like.)

2 chipotles in adobo
Salt to taste
1/4 cup masa harina
1/3 Mexican hot chocolate tablet, grated

Method:
Heat the dried chiles (anchos, pasillas, costenos, guajillos and chiles de arbol) in a dry, cast-iron skillet on medium for a couple of minutes on each side. Turn off the heat and then add enough water to the skillet to cover the chiles, and let them soak for half an hour.

Meanwhile, in a large heavy pot, such as a Dutch oven, fry up your bacon. When done, remove from pan and crumble (Don’t worry if you opt to eat a slice—you deserve it!) and leave the bacon grease in the pot (it should be about 3) tablespoons. In the pot, cook your beef in the bacon grease on medium heat, a few minutes on each side until lightly browned. You will probably have to cook these in two batches.

Remove the browned beef from the pot, and add your onions. Cook on medium until clear. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Put the beef back in the pot, and mix in the coffee, the beer, two cups of water, bacon crumbles and the dry spices. Turn the heat up to high.

Your soaking chiles should be soft by now. Drain them and discard the soaking water (it will be bitter) and place them in a blender along with the canned chipotle chiles and one cup of fresh water. Puree until nice and smooth and then add the chile puree to the chili pot.

When chili begins to boil, turn heat down to low and let simmer for five hours, stirring occasionally. Taste it once an hour, and if the flavors are too muted, feel free to add more of any of the spices. Also, it starts to get too dry, add more liquid (your choice!).

After five hours, take a Mexican hot chocolate disc, and finely grate 1/3 of it into the pot. Scoop out 1 cup of broth and add the masa harina. Mix it well and then reincorporate it back into the pot. Stir until chili is thickened.

Let the chili simmer for another half hour or so. When done, serve with cheddar, onions and tortillas.

Note: If you can't find all of these chiles, I would just use the more readily available anchos and chipotles. I'd use 6-8 anchos, following the same soaking and pureeing method, and two chipotles.

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122 comments:

heidigoseek said...

recipes like this come awfully close to tempting me out of vegetarianism...i will definitely make this for my family. they'll gobble it up!

Abby said...

I just have to delurk for the forthcoming chili debate. #1 - Homesick Texan is right - real Texas chili never met a tomato.
#2 - True Texas chili can be any way you like it provided you use the basics - meat, chili powder, comino (cumim), onion and garlic.

The rest is really up to you. I've won a few chili cookoffs in my day and judged many more, so pardon the smugness, but i just can't seem to help myself on this subject.

FWIW - my chili is modified from the 1984 Texas State Chili Winner and contains only the basics except for two things. I hate chili ground because of the sinew, so I use ground beef, and I mix it pound for pound with venison as we are avid hunters and we eat what we shoot.

Also, I occaisonally add Ranch Style Beans. It's a big no-no in real cook-offs, but I love them so much - Santa once gave me a whole case of Ranch Style Beans for Christmas.

I also use masa and beer to thicken and only use Bolner's "Fiesta" Brand spices because they are from San Antonio (near me) and they are Aggies (like me)

LOVE LOVE LOVE the blog - been lurking for months - but just had to add my two cents to this one!

Jerry said...

My good god, the spice list takes up most of the page. I am slacked jawed and wanting chili right now. Send a bowl my way!

Moriah said...

Thanks for measuring everything out. It's always good to see an exact recipe before completely winging it. I might have to give this a try next weekend - can't think of a better home for my long-hoarded dried chiles!

Bee said...

Someday I just have to try chili your way. Even though I'm an authentic Texan, I've been told - even by my half-English daughter - that I don't make true Texas chili.

BTW, I had some chili on a baked potato for lunch today - leftovers from Sunday - but I make mine with tomatoes and three different kinds of beans!

Paula Maack said...

Oh, Baby!!! This recipe is sounds magnificent!!

Thank you, Lisa. I just made another batch of my Rancho Gordo Chili con Carne and had some last night, and STILL your recipe tempts me to to distraction right now.

I just defrosted another chuck roast I had planned to use for something else. Now that will have to wait. Your beautiful chili shall be next up!

Thank you, Lisa!!

Cheers,

~ Paula

Helene said...

This is beautiful and 7 chilies. Wow! I don't think my supermaket carries that many.

Miss Meat and Potatoes said...

You had me at coffee and beer. Genius.

Just a Plane Ride Away said...

Oh, darn! I just made a vat of chili today for a luncheon tomorrow. But I am setting your recipe aside for next time. All of those ingredients sounds like they'd make a beautifully complex bowl of red. Thanks for the recipe!

PS I'm a firm believer in no beans in the pot. Though I did have a bowl of chili with beans here in England. It wasn't half bad. I just wouldn't call it Texas Chili ;-)

Kalyn said...

It sounds delicious. I am a fan of most every kind of chili, but yours definitely sounds like something special.

Nicole said...

So glad you posted this! I was just telling a friend how I wanted to try making real chili using your instructions from the two-part post about Texas Red. But this makes it easier for me! Just reading the ingredient list makes me dream of how the house will smell while it's all simmering together! My pantry is stocked with about half of the chiles on the list, so I'm halfway there ;-)

Kelly said...

"Some people have grumbled because there’s cinnamon and chocolate in my chili, though these flavors are commonly found in Mexican cuisine."

I immediatly think of a mole, and that can't be bad ... can it? I have had chili with either one of the other, but not both. I may have to try that and see how it works for me. I am always afraid I will over cinnamon the pot and ruin it. The recipe I use most does not have cinnamon but I am not adverse to adding it.

"Some people have grumbled because there aren’t tomatoes in my chili, though I don’t think that cowboys on the range had access to tomatoes all the time."

I detest tomato in my chili. I have had it both ways and I prefer the flavor of the chilis to shine and not get muddied by the tomato.

"... using fresh chiles will trump chili powder any day."

I can not agree more. You can't see it, but I am clapping. Well, I was clapping ... now I a typing. :)

The Big Guy said...

"...the sum of the bowl is greater than its parts."

Awesome.

TBG

deceiverofmen said...

I can't believe people grumble about chocolate in chili.

Your addition of chocolate and cinnamon remind me of my dad, he used to put bottled mole into his chili. It was one of his secrets (oh no! i let it out!:))

Vegetarian above: Try tempeh and/or lentils instead of meat. You still want to brown the tempeh in oil, but you don't have to do it as long as beef. As you mix it around when adding other ingredients, some of it will break off so you'll have both cubes and crumbles in the pot. Making the "meat" meld with the gravy just like real chili.

I bet it'll beat the hell out of all those veggiesoups alling themselves vegetarian chili.

Also the 365 canned veggie chili at whole foods is pretty good, I always add extra chili powder and a spoonful of unsweetened cocoa powder.

Karen said...

Oh, my. This sounds so warm mand inviting. I love it! Gloria at Foods and Flavors of San Antonio has a monthly chili cookoff... I bet this would win! :)

Samba00 said...

My chili recipe is similar to yours (though just as free-form). The only difference is that I soak fresh chiles (sandia or jalapeno) in the beer overnight.

Also, I use 1/2 pound of bacon, and I eat all of it (why stop at one piece).

dustym said...

This is great timing. I got my new immersion blender the other day and have been putting off a trip to Fairway to pick up chiles, but this put me over the edge. No anchos though, which is weird, but I'll take New Mexico chiles over anchos anyday. Skipped the guajillos to try some puya chiles... they seem to be quite hot.

Also, I didn't have all of the stuff to maintain parity with your recipe, but we know that's what makes chile great. I like to add some mexican oregano and hungarian paprika in my chili, as well as jalapeno slices for effect.

Great post as always.

Greg said...

I love chiles and I buy too many of them myself. If I didn't store mine at knee level I'd get brained by them too.

Chili - have you ever had it made with barbecued brisket? Killer!

Karen said...

Even at my well-stocked Whole Foods it can be difficult to find a good variety of dried chiles. Now you've got me craving a bowl of chili. I'll have to hound the grocery guys a bit harder!

Paula said...

Oh yum, yum, yum! This is over the top good! I didn't expect to see the coffee and beer in the ingredient list! Cool! I just love your cooking.

masdevallia said...

I'm a Californian, so I don't mind admitting that chili has never been my thing. Reading this, I understand why. Chili here always has beans and tomatoes and usually hamburger. Give me the chuck with real peppers seasoned with my favorite mole ingredients, and I'll bet I could wave the white flag as a chili convert. I'll try it!

Netts Nook said...

Utahan here can't wait to try love coffee in anything. Whole lot of spices going on. Thanks can't wait.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Heidgoseek--I hope they love it! And you could always make it with beans or TVP if you wanted it to be vegetarian.

Abby--Wow! Thanks for weighing in on the topic! I love Ranch Style Beans, too--I wish they sold them here.

Jerry--It is a lot of spices, isn't it?

Moriah--This is a perfect way to use up a bunch of dried chiles.

Bee--Ha! I think you're daughter may be correct.

Paula--I hope you enjoy it!

Helene--Thank you! And sadly, my local supermarket doesn't either, hence my travels to Queens.

Miss Meat and Potatoes--You can't go wrong with those two!

Just a Plane Ride Away--Did you have chili at Bee's house?

Kalyn--I don't know if it's special, but I like it.

Nicole--Your house will smell like chili heaven.

Kelly--I love mole and that's what I think of, too. And if you start small you should be fine with adding the cinnamon.

The Big Guy--Aw, thanks!

Deceiverofmen--I'll have to try your dad's secret ingredient someday--there's a store in Queens that sells freshly made mole paste that I've been wanting to try. And thanks for the tips for vegetarian substitutions.

Karen--It's very warm and inviting--perfect food for a group.

Samba--Brilliant! I'll have to try that next time!

Dustym--They don't have anchos at Fairway? That is odd, but I guess it's cool if you prefer New Mexico chiles.

Greg--I haven't made it with barbecued brisket, just unsmoked brisket. Sounds awesome!

Karen--Please do--I know I've been bugging my WF for years. Not only does mine not have a good selection of chiles, but they're also old and crumbly. And that's shameful behavior for a Texas-based company!

Paula--Thank you!

Masdevalia--That's not chili--that's bean and hamburger soup!

Netts Nook--Enjoy!

Scott at Real Epicurean said...

This is the second chilli I've seen in a couple of days, and it really makes me think - you guessed - that I NEED some chilli right now!

Wading Thru said...

Love the post. I cook chili much the same way, but with fewer varieties of peppers. It's easy to put too much cloves or cinnamon.

Anonymous said...

Just how spicy does this turn out?

I love the flavor chilies give off, but I'm not a fan of the heat.

Jennifer said...

Delicious!!!!!

Mr. Kurtz said...

So about how much does this make? I am going to cook this for around 15 people, and I luckily have the equipment to make two large batches.

And (strangely, I'll admit) I have a couple people around that don't like the smell or taste of bacon; I imagine using olive oil in place of bacon fat would probably be ok?

John P said...

I'm still a vegetarian (though when I'm in Round Top, TX this July that will go out the window. The sausage they make is out of this world) but I really love modeling my chili after yours. The cinnamon is a great addition, and a few cans of beans and some extra tvp for texture work wonders if you don't eat meat. I can't get any of the chiles here (in Great Britain, making me a homesick Texan as well), so I have to use chili powder and (alot) of Cholula instead. However, I can't wait to get back to San Antonio and really give this a run for its money. Your blog has kept me going while I'm over here, so many thanks to you.

AmyLynn said...

Love it!!! I live in So Cal, and have many resources for the chiles. I am just finishing a delightful Braised short Rib dish, that uses anchos, chiplotles, clove, cinnamon, molasses, and other really good stuff. The recipe calls for a side of black beans, and that makes my beany soul very happy. I am baking a potato for my man, as he gets tired of the "Bean of The Day" Menu. I will try your chile recipe next; it has all the stuf that makes me happy. Cholula I have, I also enjoy Tapatio and Pico Pica- absolute staples in my 'hood.

So thanks-

AmyLynn, form Sylmar, California

Jeb said...

Wow! I'm getting hungry. All your recipes look great!

Jennifer said...

I never knew until recently that peppers that are the same, are called different things when they are dried. Alton Brown on Food TV had a whole thing about it. I love chili, its the one thing a year my husband will make! I'll have to show him this recipe! Thanks for sharing

Jennifer said...

So, I took the plunge and made this today, and I have a few questions. 1) Where is the 7th chile? I only count 6. 2) At some point, is the crumbled bacon supposed to go back in? (I just threw it in at the spice step.)

Boy, does this dish change as it simmers! The first time I tasted it, it was bitter and hot. By adding some more spices (and brown sugar) and giving it more time, the flavor deepened a lot. Then the masa and cocoa brought their gifts to the party. In the end, it was still a little hot for me, but I have a strategy for next time. My husband gobbled it up!

Keep the great recipes coming!
Jennifer

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Scott--Better get it while it's still cold!

Wading Thru--It is, I try to start with a not enough just in case.

Anon--Not too spicy or hot, surprisingly--it just has a mellow, deep flavor.

Jennifer--Thanks!

Mr. Kurtz--Good question! I'd say it makes enough to feed seven or eight people. It turns out thick but can be easily thinned and stretched by just adding more liquid (and more masa to thicken the gravy). And sure, olive oil is fine.

John P.--You're very welcome. And you might try mexgrocer.co.uk if you're looking for chiles.

AmyLynn---Cholula is my favorite!

Jeb--Thanks!

Jennifer--You're welcome!

Jennifer--The seventh chile is the cayenne. And yes, you put the bacon crumbles back in the pot--thanks for the correction. And glad y'all liked the chili!

Nikki said...

Cool! I just got to judge a chili cook-off today and then I come by here and what do I see-more chili! I was craving more chili when I left the cook-off, but now I'm getting desperate for a big bowl of Texas Red that I don't have put the lid back on and pass to the Judge on my right!
Your recipe sounds great (gonna have to make it that way VERY soon), but have to admit, don't think any of the ones I tasted today had chocolate in them.

Wendy said...

Now you're making me homesick for Texas, too. And showcasing how piss poor my quickie version of chili is...sniff sniff.

And are you using the stems of those chiles?

m. leblanc said...

I just made this tonight. I couldn't find masa harina (or I just wasn't looking hard enough), so I only added 1 cup of water along with the beer/coffee. It came out the perfect consistency after about 4 and a half hours. I put the chocolate in after 4 hours--it tasted really good and I was getting super hungry. Didn't use costeñas, because I couldn't find them, and still delicious. I did a whole half-tablet of the chocolate, and browned my onions instead of just getting them translucent, for more flavor.

Absolutely delicious recipe. Such a smoky, mellow flavor with great after-heat.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Nikki--I judged a chili cook-off once, and I know what you mean--afterwards I was still craving chili!

Wendy--I've removed the stems.

M. Leblanc--Yay! I'm so glad you liked it. And costenas are hot and smoky, so more chipotles would be a good substitution.

Tommy in Toronto said...

Well now that I've located real dried chile peppers here in Southern Ontario, I have no excuse for procrastination.

Erica said...

Hi! I'm new to your blog, and I have to say, I am totally enchanted! Yours is the most beautiful food blog I've seen. You go girl. I'm no Texan, but after reading your blog I'm about ready to become one. :)

Celina said...

hi there! love your blog, having lived in texas for 6 years and now in new york. i've been looking for a good place to get mexican groceries (dried chiles, avocado leaves, cheese) and was wondering if you'd share where the grocery you go to in queens is? would super appreciate it!

Nicole said...

Wow...this is a great recipe...the addition of coffee is a great idea...I have always added chocolate..Thanks as always for another one of your GREAT RECIPES!

Dr. Electro said...

I love Texas chili. I don't use tomatoes very often, either. Gebhart's is my fallback spice when I don't have or am too olazy to grind up my own chiles. I prefer the fresh stuff, of course.

My signature finish has always been to finely dice a fresh jalapeno and sprinkle it over the chili just before I remove it from the heat. I've had a few complaints about the heat but only from damn Yankees and sandlappers from South Carolina.

Ranchand said...

I had that same chile avalanche this morning. This batch does have tomatoes, but I can go either way on the subject. This recipe looks wonderful and 90 mins in has the house smelling Awesome. Lisa, if you ever get out north of Ft. Worth look me up I would love to cook a meal with you.

Yvo said...

I love your photos per usual, and I wanted to add that darn the naysayers :) it looks delicious. As for "authentic" I was reading something recently that explained nothing is "authentic" because every cuisine evolves with influences from others, so what's to make that evolution/fusion (if I may be so bold) any more or less authentic? As time goes on, it, too, will be accepted as part of that cuisine... haha. I have people jumping down my back over what I add or don't add to various dishes I make, so I emphasize they are not "authentic" anything but "good" "tasty" "delicious" ... and worth a try if they contain things you like :)
Thanks for the recipe!!!

Josh Gunn said...

Hi,

I am making your recipe right now. I realized at the last minute that by "coffee," you probably meant a brewed up, right? I stopped myself before putting coffee grounds in . . . .

I'll pop buy once I'm finished!

Enjoy your blog!

Dr. Bachelor

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Hey Josh--er, yeah, brewed coffee. I never even thought to make that qualification. I'll correct the recipe now. And hope the recipe works for you! Though it's hard to go wrong as long as you cook it long enough!

Josh Gunn said...

Lisa: It was done. I am full and satisfied, and smoking a padron stogie for the accomplishment. It is a very complex chili flavor--akin, in a way, to mole. I couldn't find all the chilis, so made some substitutions, but even so, it came out grand.

And you know, it will be even better tomorrow!

I like my chili hot, so I suspect the next time I make it I will add some serranos.

Excellent recipe! Hats off to you!

Josh

Anonymous said...

I did a google search to try and find some hidden secrets for texas style chili. Once I came across your recipe, I was shocked to find that my current version is almost identical to yours! The only thing I've done different is kept the chili soaking water, but I'm going to try discarding it next time. Maybe this virginia boy is on the right track and doesn't need any secrets...

April said...

I made this a couple of days ago and it was amazing! Actually, it still is amazing because I still have some in my fridge! It made at least 3 meals worth of food for me and my boyfriend. Oh, it's so good.

I could only find dried anchos here in rural western Massachusetts, so it was maybe a little less flavorful than it could have been. I'm going to try ordering the other chilies online for the next time I make it.

Thanks for the awesome recipe! Next up: chipotle sweet potato soup. I can't wait.

Stephen Foster said...

OMG This has totally changed how I think about chili. I have only ever made my mother's recipe. I am going to make this for our office chili cook-off just to mess with everyone's preconceptions! Can't wait to get my hand on all those chilis.

testpattern said...

Ms. Lisa,
Just a note of thanks. Despite a six-year residency in Houston, I never really had a for real chili (apart from mom's ground beef with tomato sauce and packaged spices). So after living in San Francisco for a while I began a romance with Texas Red based on John Thorne's recipe in Serious Pig, eventually intersecting with yours. Mine is definitely a hybrid of those two, and my gratitude for the product is eternal.

Speaking of Thorne's recipe, have you experimented with adding lime at the end? I find that it adds the acidity that some people haplessly search for in adding tomato.

Pontchartrain Pete said...

New Orleans isn't a chili town by any means, but we appreciate hand-crafted, slow food of any type. I decided to forgo making jambalaya or gumbo for Super Bowl Sunday and have a pot of your Texas Red simmering on stove now. I'll check back in with the results.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Pontchartrain Pete--I am honored! Hope y'all enjoy it. Meanwhile, I have a big pot of red beans & rice simmering away on the stove. I like this food-culture exchange program!

Scott said...

Made your recipe with a few slight tweaks (namely, I upped the anchos and adobos since one of the peppers was not available to me even in SF's Mission District) -- added epizote, and a lot more of the dried spices, and used Negro Modelo (dark, of course) for the beer. Turned out great, and got plenty of rave comments. Don't underestimate the power of good all grass-fed beef, too.

-- Scott

James said...

We recently tried your chili recipe and loved it. We do, however, admit to making a couple alterations...hope you approve. Perhaps you would like to take a look?
http://dinnerwithjames.blogspot.com/2010/04/clilli-con-carne-adapted-from-homesick.html

Lael Hazan said...

Hearty and authentic. I'm currently trying various regional chili's from all over the US. I'm looking forward to making the time for this one. That "the sum of the bowl is greater than its parts", is a wonderful phrase.
Thank you

Aztlan said...

Awsome! Tried the recipe here in Switzerland with Mulatos, Anchos, Guajilos and some Thai chillies to give the extra heat. The chilli reminded me so much of a Mole my mum used to made when I was a kid. Thank you!

-Ed. said...

I'm a new Texan and have a lot to learn. I made this recipe the other week, my oh my is it ever good! I couldn't find the chocolate or masa harina for the finish, but next time I will have them. I like that this recipe is so affordable, especially if you can find the peppers in bulk like my local H.E.B. has them. Thank you for posting, you have added a great recipe to my life.

William said...

That's quite the ingredients list, I particularly like the addition of brewed coffee and beer. Being from New Zealand I haven't had the pleasure of tasting an authentic Texas chilli dish, but I would love to have a go at making one sometime.

Aquaria said...

Ed mentions something interesting:

Masa Harina is one of those things that might be hard for some folks to find. Look near your corn meal or speciality flours. It's usually there. Or look for the green and white box of Armour Manteca/Lard. Masa harina is usually near or next to it, or across the aisle from it. Probably because it's the primary emulsifier for frijoles.

For the Mexican chocolate, in the Southwest, look for the hot chocolate. There will be an Abuelita brand in red and yellow packaging on one of the top shelves.It will be the large flat package, about the size of the very large Hershey's bar.

I don't know about finding it in other parts of the country. If you have a large Mexican-American population in your area, find out where they shop. It'll be there. You'll never go back to Swiss Miss if you ever try Abuelita!

Karen from Globetrotter Diaries said...

I tried making this for my own blog and it turned out great!!! http://globetrotterdiaries.com/recipes/chili-con-carne-eating-texas Such bold flavors, I really loved it. Thanks!!

Anonymous said...

I made this in a crockpot and it rocked! Thank you so much. It was just like my mom's who had that San Antonio flair.

Dre said...

Hey friend. Fellow Houstonian/homesick Texan in NYC here. Just wanted to pass along some info on a little gem of a Latin grocery store that you may find more convenient than Queens, depending on the neighborhoods you frequent. Billy's Marketplace (C-Town) on S. 1st and Havermeyer in Williamsburg has all 7 chiles...in one place! No masa harina though. Your chili is BOMB, by the way. It's simmering away on my stove as I type. Thanks a million - this website is my missing piece. Oh how I miss watermelon juice from Goode Company Mexican and Berryhill tamales and breakfast burritos from that shack on Bellaire Blvd and Ruchi's margaritas and oh I could go on and on...

Aaron G said...

I made this last weekend for family and it was a homerun/touchdown/slamdunk/pick-your-metaphor. Definitely worth the time, effort, and copious chilies. I say this as an Ohio guy (now in Brooklyn) who loves a bowl of real Cincinnati 5-way. Who says you can't enjoy both TX and OH styles (when done right).

Thank you for such a well-written, clear, beautifully photographed, and delicious recipe/blog.

For other Brooklynites attempting this: I found *all* of the dried pepers at Steve's C-Town on 9th St in Park Slope, everything else at Union Market. I thought 4 lbs of chuck would make way too much but it was the right amount. The trimming/cubing of the aforementioned chuck took a lot longer than I expected (but is worth the effort). For the record I used Stumptown House Blend coffee and Goose Island Mild Winter brew (it's December and cold). Neither has tasted so good as they did combined in this great pot of red. Cheers!

Mary Kathryn said...

I'm new to your blog and have not read all the comments YET, but I thought I'd mention
1. they do sell cans of Ro-Tel around the corner at Zabars (Bway and W. 81st). Someone probably already mentioned it, but just in case...
2. From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler had a profound impact on me as a child. I recommend it to kids these days, but they don't seem to have the same reaction. Finally figured out it's because I'm giving it to kids who are living in NYC and who consider the museum their very own playground (as my son does. Aren't they lucky?)
3.LOVE your recipes, photography, writing...so glad to have found you! There seem to be a few of us Texans here in NYC. Your blog makes me feel less homesick. Thanks.

suzannes-people said...

I grew up in Houston but never had chili quite like this. I made it last weekend and though I now live in the New York City area(Maplewood, NJ), I was able to find all the dried chilis. What a fantastic, soulful bowl of chili this makes. Spicy yes, but the layers of heat is very complex. This should make the cookbook.

Doug Jones

Doug.jones@HarperCollins.com

Charles Robinson said...

I found your recipe while I was looking around chili recipes for a party. My party was all about chilies the fruit, not chili the dish, but this spoke to me as being authentic. The use of cinnamon and chocolate brings it back to the Mexican roots. I also use a Mexican chocolate that's infused with cinnamon.

People absolutely love it. Many who say they don't like chili have asked for this recipe and made it themselves. It's a lot of steps and it's daunting to some people, but they persevere because they enjoy it so much.

So thank you for taking the time to compose this. It's very much appreciated.

Anonymous said...

This recipe is banging! i am a misplaced texan in orlando florida. despite its moniker, florida has been rainy recently. it was perfect Chili weather today! i made a big pot of this stuff. Hands down this is the best chili i have ever made. thanks for the recipe!

Alex Stanton said...

Its Wednesday, and I'm preparing for a chili cook off that takes place Saturday night. I've never made chili before, but I'm confident that I can still make a run for it, especially with a super-authentic recipe such as this. I do have a few questions:

- How would you modify this for competition? This is not an official ICS event, but its still about knocking socks off with the first bite.

- I have a number of small red chili peppers my girlfriend grew in the garden, I'm not sure exactly what kind they are, but they're damn hot, is it too risky to include an unknown quantity such as these? They're fresh (not dried), does that change anything?

- I have until saturday at 7pm, and this is a cook it at home, bring it to the party kind of thing (again quite different from ICS rules). What would be the absolute best time to start it? Would it make more sense to cook it 3 days ahead of time and then heat it up? or should I make it day of?

Thanks! I'll let you know how it goes

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Alex--I've never cooked for competition, but chili always tastes better the next day.

ChiliDude said...

I live on the East Coast, but my auto license plate reads "TX CHILI", and I brew chili with cubed meat instead of ground meat. In years past, my chili was made with homegrown chiles that were steamed and frozen for future use. This year was a gardening disaster. No fresh chiles for chili. I've become fond of the Indian chile called the 'ghost pepper' (bhut jolokia) and still have some from last years garden. I use those chiles as well as ground chile powders from Pendery's.

Donald said...

Leave to seeds from the chiles or remove them?

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Donald--I remove the seeds, but if you want it spicier, leave them in.

Israel said...

I cooked it tonight and I ate and was great, however, my wife could not take the heat. Do you have a suggestion for an extra mild version? Maybe take the chipotles and chile de arbol out and perhaps less cayenne? What do you think?

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Israel--Yes, take out the cayenne, chipotles and chile de arbol and it will be mild.

gluttonforlife said...

Just made this chili for a big outdoor party this weekend and it was a major success. I tripled the recipe and found I didn't need all the chile sauce (nor all the chipotles). Loved the masa thickener, and the beer, coffee and chocolate for rich, murky depth. Thank you!!

Anonymous said...

Lisa-

I'd seen a version of this recipe posted and am glad I tracked it back home. I bought your book last week and Mexgrocer'd the chilis today. I see the costena chilis are not in the book (I couldn't find them anyway) and you have the chipotles swimmin' at the adobo's place in the recipe above. I've got 12 gallons worth of the chilis coming my way so there is a lot to experiment with, but can you comment on the differences these changes make?

Anonymous Brent

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Brent--It doesn't make that much difference.

stephanie said...

I just wanted to let you know I love your website! I found it as I was looking for a Pea casserole recipe:) I am a Texas girl living in NYC (been her for 7 years). I miss my southern food, and cook at home a ton. Thank you so much for the site. I love that you say chili doesnt have beans, I literally told someone the same thing the other day and they called me a liar! Thanks for the Rotel info I can never find it in NYC. COngrats on the book!

Huy-zer said...

First off, your blog is just beautifully written and photographed. As an aspiring blogger this place is an inspiration!

I made this for a football tailgate some weeks back and the rich, mole-like base was wonderful on a brisk San Francisco morning.

Thank you for sharing!

I hope you don't mind but I mentioned your site on my blog at foodiephoria.wordpress.com (don't laugh we are total amateurs)

Anonymous said...

Dying to try this but never seen many of these chilis, even in Houston. Are they all available at Fiesta or HEB stores? Any other Houstonians here?

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Anon--Fiesta should have most of these, though I hear costeñas (sometimes spelled costeños) are hard to find in Houston. Can use 2 more guajillos instead.

Anonymous said...

Lisa - I made your chili today. In addition to the required chiles, I added a few serrano and habanero peppers - :)
Delicious!!

BabyBits said...

My batch came out kind of bitter. What did I do wrong?!! It's ALMOST amazing, but I think I did something wrong :( suggestions?

Made some beans from another post of yours. Incredible! I'm a fan, thanks for keeping me busy in the rain and snow!
Mary

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Mary--Sometimes ancho chiles can be bitter. Did you rinse them before making the puree?

BabyBits said...

Hmmm, good suggestion for the next round ;) I bet you have it down to a science. Not so used to all these chilis here in MI (The Dirty Mitten).
Mary

UtahFoodie said...

To those that have issues with the bitterness, there are a few items in this recipe that could contribute bitter flavor to the finished product. Chile seeds are really bitter on their own, so de-seeding your chiles prior to reconstitution will help a lot. The beer and coffee additions could also contribute to the bitterness.

My recipe is similiar, but uses a ground chile powder that I grind myself from dried chiles that I've roasted and de-seeded. Tends to eliminate any bitterness issues. I wouldn't use grocery store chili powder for anything though, so use the whole chiles or make your own powder, especially if you make chili frequently.

Rich said...

I haven't tried this - yet! But it seems that my chili recipe, which I thought was unique is Texas style. I do use beans but what surprised me is 3 ingredients. Coffee, beer and chocolate. I have been using these for years as my secret ingredients. I guess the gig is up. There are no new ideas just reincarnations of the old. Thanks for the great sounding recipe and I will be preparing it this weekend with some filet I have sitting aroung. I also have some Trinidad Scorpions and Bhut Jolokias needing a home so it will likely be hot and 7-10 pepper chili. My mouth is already watering.

Julie said...

Thank God, no BEANS! That makes me nuts. Texas chilli aint got no beans, lol. I live in PA and they just dont get it.

More Cowbell said...

The first time I made chili I had never even tasted it, but I'd heard good things about it. ;) I found a recipe and followed it faithfully. Of course, the recipe had beans in it, but I'm a California girl, so what did I know. I pretty much liked the flavor of that chili, and it got rave reviews from my friends. I've been doctoring it up ever since as my tastes changed over the years.

If anything deserves to be made to the cook's preferences, it's something as complex and personal as chili. If people don't like the ingredients in a recipe or feel something is missing, they can just do it their own way. That's the way we learn to cook, the way we learn what we like.

Jeanie said...

I don't have Mexican chocolate just bakers. How much should I use and should I add more cinnamon? Thanks! Amazing recipe.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Jeanie--Use 1/2 teaspoon of cocoa powder instead.

Jeanie said...

Thanks for the quick response. I added cocoa powder instead. Will find Mexican chocolate next time. I made it and loved it!!! Actually I read Abby's response and made the 1984 champion chili and yours at the same time. 2 totally different dishes, both good, but I LOVED your recipe. I've eaten 2 bowls already. I may mix it up some tonight. Think I may add black beans and maybe some sweet potato chips. Hope that doesn't mess it up. Thanks for sharing!!

Anonymous said...

This may be a stupid question, do you leave it covered or uncovered while simmering?

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Anon--Uncovered.

franflanro said...

Holy Moly... I just finished making this and I am in fear....you r bringing the heat on this one gurrl!!! I cooked the chili in the oven with a lid and parchment paper - 3 hours later the meat was FALLING apart... I am bringing it to work and will let you know.... thanks so much for great recipe!

Unknown said...

I suspect people have begun using tomatoes in chili for the same reason people use yellow food coloring in Challah - color.
My Challah has eggs from my happy yard chickens and my chili has no tomatoes! -or beans

Jim Pell said...

So I made this using half chuck half leftover hickory smoked brisket point. It turned out very deep, and delicious tasting. Didn't win the chili cook off at work, but most people from Michigan don't know quite what this kind of chili is all about.

Anonymous said...

It's late September in Wisconsin and there's a chill in the air. Perfect weather for Chili. I wanted to try something different and found your recipe for Seven Chile Chili and was up for the challenge. I was able to find all of the ingredients except the Mexican hot cocoa. The recipe was extremely easy to follow and the results were incredible!
Warning: This chili is not for the faint of heart. My lips are still tingling. It's a good thing I had a cold Shiner Bock to quell the heat. ;-)
I will definately make this again, and again, and again...
Bill

Jennifer said...

Lisa, I know I'm late to this game here, but how many does the above (amazeballs) recipe serve, approximately?

Thanks,
Jennifer
(another Homesick Texan, now living in VA)

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Jennifer--It serves about 6-8.

Anonymous said...

Are we supposed to be using dried or fresh peppers? I went to the store today and could not find any of these peppers fresh and hardly any dried. Tons of jalapenos, serrano, poblanos and anaheims but none of the others. I didn't know if those would work so I'm stuck with chipotles in adobo sauce and regular old chili powder. Sad considering I live in Houston and couldn't find these peppers.

So how much chili powder would you recommend?

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Those are dried chiles and I'm surprised you couldn't find them in Houston! I've seen them at Central Market, HEB, Fiesta and Whole Foods. if you're going to substitute with chili powder, I'd start with 2 tablespoons and add more to taste.

Bethany said...

I made this tonight and it was amazing! Love the mole flavor! Instead of the chocolate tablet (I know what you are talking about but couldn't get it in the store here in Portland) I used Equal Exchange Spicy Hot Cocoa, a little less than 1/4 cup. I am wondering about your instructions for meat that is cubed 1/4 inch. Can you buy it like that in the store, or ask for it to be cut that way? I got "stew meat" (the guy at the meat counter said it was chuck roast and since it was already cut up some, I thought it would be easier). My hubs tried to cut it into smaller cubes and it was taking forever so we just cooked the large stew meat chunks and at the end of 5 hours it was falling apart tender so it turned out fine, but I am just curious how you accomplish that!

mstinawu said...

I love this recipe! Thank god I live in Los Angeles and am able to find all those chili's. I've made this recipe several times and it's simply the best chili recipe out there! Thank you for sharing!

Jmgrogg said...

Best chile chili ever. I'm also in So Cal but am a Texas chili aficionado. Already had all of the ingredients in my pantry. Thanks so much.

Susan said...

We are having one of those rare cold snaps here in Austin. So I'm going to be trying this recipe. I don't drink coffee (I don't like the taste of it. )and am wondering what sort of flavoring does it add to it and could i just throw an extra beer in it instead. The chocolate too. I have never heard of putting chocolate in chili.
Heb doesn't have a good selection of dried chiles but I did find all of them at my neighborhood Mexican market.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. It is one of single most amazing recipes I've ever used. The depth of flavor just deepens with every bite. I also believe the addition of the chocolate is a perfect accompaniment to the flavors within. I'm am not from Texas but sure as hell wish I grew up with this kind of chili.

Anonymous said...

Used your recipe, with a few tweaks of my own, today. Won our BBQ teams annual Super Bowl Chili cook off! Thanks for sharing the recipe!
Brady

Jessica said...

Hi, my name is Jessica and I first found your site while looking for a chocolate pie recipe and am now completely obsessed with your recipes! My boyfriend and I live in Brooklyn but he grew up in Texas and Louisiana and is also very impressed by your recipes. We're wondering where in NYC you buy all the different chiles in this recipe? I know there are Mexican groceries everywhere but wanted to know if you had a favorite....Thanks!

-Jessica

p.s. Chocolate pie was amazing, and we'll be tasting the lemon/lime icebox pie after dinner tonight :-)

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Jessica--I'm glad y'all enjoyed the chocolate pie! As for dried chiles, I don't have a particular favorite place to get them, I just look out for the freshest ones. Most Mexican markets will have fresh chiles and Whole Foods and Manhattan Fruit exchange also have fresh chiles, too. In Brooklyn, the markets in Sunset Park should have a good selection.

Knotan said...

This is amazing! Everyone loved it and asked for seconds. Thank you from Sweden

anubis75 said...

I agree, yours is definitely a true Texas chili! I happen to subscribe to the idea that true Texas chil just means no beans and no tomatoes. When it comes to meat, spices and chile powders used it's dealer's choice.

Jayson McCormick said...

Giving this one a go mate. I read at least 30 different chili recipes and yours appealed to me the most. It has just started it's 5 hr gestation period in the pot. Didn't have any filtered coffee so I went to the local cafe and got a long black to use instead! Thanks, will be trying some of your other recipes. Cheers, Jay (Australia)

Gary Bowline said...

Homesick Texan I cooked up your recipe. I found it a little more "sweet" than I'm used to but very good! The chile puree was incredible! I got all of the chilis except for the costenas. I'd been using commercially available "chili powder"s and the puree was much better. One question. Which of the peppers would give the chili more heat? Thanks and glad I found your blog.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Gary--Chipotle chiles have the most heat.

Omar said...

Hey Lisa, I am from South Texas (transplanted to NYC, happily) and we definitely ate chili but never a very particular kind. I will say I need beans in mine and masa was never found in any I have eaten. After making your delicious chili I can see how the masa would provide a broader canvas for the chili flavors to shine. Otherwise, just wanted to thank you for the recipe and the blog.

Sarah said...

Hi Lisa! I am going to make this chili to serve during tomorrow's 2014 World Cup soccer match, USA v Portugal, and I have a few questions. I bought my ingredients according to your Homesick Texan Cookbook and I notice that this online recipe is a bit different (OL = online, CB = cookbook):

CB - 2 dried chipolte chilis
OL - 2 costeñas chilis

CB - 3 cups water + 1 cup for chili puree
OL - 2 Cups water + 1 cup for chili puree
(this difference is the most confusing to me)

CB - has 1 teaspoon oregano

OL - has 2 chipoltes in adobo (no adobo in CB)

CB - 2 T masa harina
OL - 1/4 cup masa harina
(so twice the amount from one to the other)

You wrote that you don't usually measure the ingredients, but some of these measurements (water, masa) seem like they would make a difference. Your thoughts?

I am going to make the chili puree tonight and put it in 'fridge until early tomorrow morning.

One more note, I am a native Houstonian. I found all of the chilis at Fiesta, but no masa harina (which I found odd). However, I did find it at Whole Foods made by Bob's Red Mill). For the meat, I called ahead to the B & W Meat Co. on N. Shepherd and asked them to cut the chuck into 1/4" pieces for me. Bingo!!!!

All the best - Sarah

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Sarah--Well, there are indeed differences between the cookbook and the blog recipes, but chili is very forgiving so it should be fine either way.

Bill said...

Hi,

Great recipe? How does it hold up when frozen for a week or so?

Thanks,
Bill

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Bill--The chili holds up very well when frozen.

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