I recently published an article about how to make real Texas Chile Con Carne in a pressure cooker in just about an hour. It was based largely on my original Dutch oven version of Texas Chile Con Carne, but when writing the new recipe, it occurred to me that over the years, I've learned a few things about making good chili. Since we're in the middle of chili season, now seemed like as good a time as ever to update all of my previous excursions to take advantage of some of the new tricks I've learned along the way.
The major updates include:
- Toasting the chilies either on the stovetop or microwave. All of my hardcore chili recipes start with real whole dried chilies (they have much better flavor than powder). I recently discovered that toasting them is easiest in the microwave: you just put them on a plate, and zap them until fragrant. This adds depth of flavor to the finished dish.
- Searing the meat in whole steaks instead of small chunks. Small pieces of meat or ground meat have a lot of surface area and give up a lot of moisture as they cook. Consequently, they don't brown very effectively; they end up steaming instead of browning. By searing them as whole steaks, you get very efficient browning which cuts your cooking time down and makes for more tender meat. Afterwards, you can cut the meat into chunks or grind it in the food processor to whatever texture you desire.
I've also made a few small tweaks here and there to bring them up to speed. I just love that the internet allows us to make sure that ALL of our recipes are up to our current standards, not just the brand new ones.
Anyhow, go and grab the chili pot. It's gonna be a cold one.
- Real Texas Chile Con Carne: The original, made with chunks of beef, whole chilies, and not much else.
- 1-Hour Pressure-Cooker Texas-Style Chile Con Carne: The pressure cooker makes short work of traditional Texas-style chili.
- The Best Chili Ever: This is the one most folks are thinking of: beans, tomatoes, chilies, and chunky ground meat in a savory stew.
- The Best Vegetarian Bean Chili: A fully vegan version of the Best Chili Ever. All the flavor, none of the meat.
- Vegan Sweet Potato and Two Bean Chili With Hominy: A hearty, veggie-packed, vegan chili.
- Carne Adovada (New Mexico-style Pork with Red Chilies): Slow-cooked pork in a red chili sauce flavored with oranges and spices.
- Beef Barbacoa: A slow-cooked, shreddably tender beef stew made for stuffing into tacos and burritos.