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The Food Lab

Real Texas Chili Con Carne

Real Texas Chili Con Carne

[Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Note: This makes for a moderately hot to hot chili. You can vary the heat by adding or removing the hot chilies and the canned chipotles.

About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Managing Editor of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.

Real Texas Chili Con Carne

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About This Recipe

Yield:6 to 8
Active time:45 minutes
Total time:3 hours
This recipe appears in: Ask The Food Lab: On Browning Ground Meat In Recipes The Food Lab: Real Texas Chili Con Carne
Rated:

Ingredients

  • 3 whole sweet fresh chilies like Costeño, New Mexico, or Choricero, stems and seeds removed
  • 2 small hot chilies like Arbol or Cascabel, stems and seeds removed
  • 2 whole Chipotle chilies canned in adobo sauce, plus 2 tablespoons sauce, stems and seeds removed
  • 3 whole rich fruity chilies like Ancho, Mulatto, Negro, or Pasilla, stems and seeds removed
  • 2 quarts low sodium canned or homemade chicken broth
  • 4 pounds beef chuck, trimmed of excess gristle and fat, cut into 2-inch chunks
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, grated on a microplane grater
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons masa

Procedures

  1. 1

    Combine all chilies in a medium saucepan and add half of chicken broth. Simmer over medium-high heat until chilies are completely tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a blender or hand blender cup and blend until completely smooth.

  2. 2

    Heat oil in a large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over high heat until smoking. Season half of meat with salt and pepper and cook without moving until well-browned on bottom side, about 6 minutes. Transfer meat to a large bowl and combine with remaining un-cooked half of meat and set aside. Return Dutch oven to heat. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently until translucent and softened, about 2 minutes. Add garlic, cinnamon, cumin, allspice, and oregano, and cook, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add all meat back to pan along with chili puree and remaining quart chicken broth. Stir to combine.

  3. 3

    Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer, cover, leaving lid just barely ajar and cook, stirring occasionally until meat is completely tender, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Alternatively, stew can be cooked in a 200° to 250°F oven with the lid of the Dutch oven slightly ajar.

  4. 4

    Season liquid to taste with salt and pepper and whisk in masa in a slow steady stream until desired thickness is reached. For best results, allow chili to cool overnight and reheat the next day to serve.

  5. 5

    Serve, garnished with cilantro, chopped onions, scallions, grated cheese, avocado, and warm tortillas as desired.

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