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Texas (Beef) Chili

Beef Chili

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Makes 8 servings.
By Dennis W. Viau; modified from an old recipe by Craig Claiborne.

Everyone who has a recipe for this hot stuff thinks their recipe is the best. There are a lot of good recipes out there and I happen to like this one best because I don’t like spicy hot food. I’ve been making this chili since my college days and it really satisfies on a cold day. I make it each fall when the weather starts to turn cool. This recipe uses mild chili powder, but feel free to fire it up with hotter chili powder if that is what you like.

“Texas” chili supposedly uses only cubed beef chuck. Chili con carne uses chopped or ground beef. Chili con frijoles is made with beans. Recipes abound and chili can be found throughout the world. Wikipedia.org says, “The variant recipes provoke disputes among aficionados.” I am not an aficionado and I would never judge a chili cook-off. I just eat.

Ingredients:

3 pounds (1.4 kg) boneless beef chuck; cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes
2 tablespoons (30ml) vegetable oil or olive oil
2 to 3 cloves garlic, depending on size: minced or squeezed through a garlic press
4 to 6 tablespoons mild chili powder, hot if you prefer
2 teaspoons ground cumin
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon dried oregano flakes
4 cups (1 liter) beef broth; divided (good beef bouillon is an acceptable substitute)
1 teaspoon salt (no salt if using bouillon, which contains salt)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Sour cream for garnish when serving

Directions:

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Sauté the beef in the oil until it changes color without browning, about 5 minutes. Turn the meat often with a wooden spoon. Stir in the garlic and cook 1 additional minute. Reduce the heat to low.

In a bowl, combine the chili powder, cumin, and flour. Sprinkle over the meat and stir to coat evenly. Crumble the oregano over the meat. Add 3 cups (700ml) of the broth or your prepared stock and stir to combine.

Add the salt (no salt if using beef bouillon) and pepper, stir to combine. Let simmer, partially covered,2 for about 90 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add the remaining stock and simmer 30 minutes longer, until the meat begins to fall apart. Can be served immediately, but storing in the refrigerator overnight will improve the flavor.

When reheating, stir carefully over medium-low heat and watch closely to adjust heat, should there be a risk of scorching. Can easily be heated in the microwave.

Serve garnished with a generous dollop of sour cream and include a piece of crusty bread.

This chili freezes well in one-cup servings stored in small ziplock bags in the freezer for later heat-and-eat convenience.