Frank X. Tolbert's Original Bowl of Red

Recipe by Miss Annie
READY IN: 2hrs 40mins




  • Break off the stems of the chiles, and remove the seeds.
  • Place chiles in a small saucepan and cover them with water.
  • Simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Purée the chiles in a blender with a tiny bit of cooking liquid to make a smooth, thin paste.
  • Use as little liquid as possible, unless you want the chili to be soupy.
  • Pour the chile purée into a Dutch oven or large, heavy pan.
  • In a heavy skillet, sear the meat in two batches with the beef suet until the meat is gray.
  • Transfer each batch to the chile purée, then pour in enough of the chile cooking liquid to cover the meat by about 2 inches.
  • Bring the chili to a boil; reduce heat to a simmer.
  • Cook for 30 minutes.
  • Remove the chili from the heat, and stir in the rest of the ingredients.
  • Return chili to the heat, cover and resume simmering for 45 minutes, keeping the lid on except to stir just occasionally.
  • (Too much stirring tears up the meat) Add more chile liquid only if you think the mixture will burn otherwise.
  • After 45 minutes, you may add the masa harina, if you wish.
  • The masa adds a subtle, tamale-like taste, but it also thickens the chili.
  • Cover the chili again and simmer for another 30 minutes.
  • Do a lot of tasting to see if seasoning suits you.
  • Add more seasonings as you like, but go easy on the oregano to avoid ending up with a spaghetti sauce flavor.
  • Take the chili off the heat, and refrigerator overnight.
  • Skim as much fat as you wish from the chili before reheating it.
  • Serve hot.