Basic Texas Red

READY IN: 2hrs 30mins




  • Chile Paste - Wearing rubber gloves, stem and seed the chile pods and cover with near-boiling water. Let steep for 30 minutes, then pour off the water and puree the softened pods in a food processor until they form a paste. Pass through a sieve to remove skins and errant seeds. Set aside.
  • Chili - Dice the chuck neatly into 1/2 to 3/4-inch cubes (partially freeze the meat for easier dicing).
  • Heat the bacon fat in a really big skillet, and working in batches, saute the beef and pork until no longer pink. Drain off the fat.
  • Place the meat, along with several grinds of pepper, the onions and garlic, in your favorite chili pot and add 1 1/2 cups of the beef or chicken broth. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer, and cover. Keep the lid on, and your hands off, for 90 minutes.
  • After 90 minutes, stir in the chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, tomato sauce, chocolate and half the chile paste. Cover and cook for another half-hour or so.
  • Check for consistency. If it's too thin, scoop out the meat and reduce the sauce by bringing to a boil, and when you're happy with it, return the meat to the pot. Stir in the brown sugar. (If it's too thick, add some more of the broth.) Or, simply add the maize flour and let simmer 5 minutes.
  • Cook, uncovered, for 10 more minutes, and check for seasoning. You can add more salt, chili powder and cumin if you like, or more chile paste if you want to amp it up, or more brown sugar if you like it sweet and hot.
  • Serve with a squeeze of lime and a dollop of sour cream. Have cheese handy. And serve with a bowl of beans on the side, if you must.