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Frank X Tolbert's Original Texas Chili

    2 to 4 Ancho chiles, 4-8 small dried red chiles or 2 to 4 tablespoons chili
    powder
    4 tablespoons Vegetable oil
    3 pounds Lean beef chuck, cut in bite-sized pieces
    1 to 2 cups Beef stock or water
    1/3 cup Finely chopped garlic
    1 Yellow onion, finely chopped
    2 tablespoons Ground cumin
    1 tablespoon Ground oregano
    Salt
    ½ cup Hungarian sweet paprika
    1 or 2 Fresh cilantro sprigs

    If using chiles, trim the stems and remove seeds. Place in a small saucepan
    and add water to barely cover. Bring to a boil, remove from the heat, cover and
    let stand for 15 minutes. Transfer the chiles and their soaking water to a
    blender or a food processor fitted with metal blade. Purée until smooth. Set
    aside.

    Brown half of the meat in a large skillet in the vegetable oil over high heat for
    6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the meat and juices to a heavy pot and add the
    puréed chiles or chili powder, if using. Place over low heat and bring to a
    simmer. Meanwhile, brown the remaining beef in the same manner, then
    transfer it and the juices to the pot. Add enough stock or water to just cover
    the meat. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for
    30 minutes.

    Add the garlic, onion, cumin, oregano, salt to taste, paprika and cilantro and
   continue to simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the meat is very
    tender, another 30 minutes. Add a little liquid if the mixture begins to stick
    or looks too dry. When the chili is ready, using a large kitchen spoon, skim
    any fat from the surface. Ladle into bowls and serve. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

    Note: There's an easy way to remove excess fat from this or any dish, but
    you have to make it ahead of time. Let the chili cool, then refrigerate it for
    several hours or overnight. The excess fat will harden on the surface and be
    easy to remove. Then, reheat to serving temperature.


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