Kids in the Kitchen: “Texas Red” Chili

I love chili. As I should – I’m a Texan. It’s practically mandatory to be passionate about chili. While I’m not as strict on what “is” and “is not” a chili as some (as evidenced by my turkey chili recipe, a chili that includes both beef and beans, and the vegetarian bean and pumpkin chili that made it into the Foodista Best of Foodblogs cookbook), I do truly appreciate what most consider a “real” chili around these parts; commonly known as “Texas Red.”

“Texas Red” has no beans. It has no tomatoes. It is most commonly made with beef, and it’s spicy, but in a good chili, the dried chiles add more than just heat – they add such a depth of flavor that nothing compares. For this reason, I try to stock up on a large variety of dried chiles. Some are sweet, some are smoky, and some are indeed hot enough to burn your tongue right off, if you eat too much. But blend them just right, and you have spicy, delicious Texas love in a bowl.

Brittany’s eyes shined when I mentioned chili, as it was her time to cook. (A girl after my own heart!) Originally, we were going to have some guests over this past weekend, and chili was on the menu. But when our guests cancelled, Brittany insisted we still make plans to cook chili. She loves it. So in spite of the bit of work, the spicy fingers, and the long wait, she happily prepared chili with me.

Spicy fingers? Why, yes. Of course, if I planned ahead, I’d have plastic gloves (shame on me!), but we seeded and toasted those dried chiles, and in spite of washing, a bit of the heat remained on our hands. But we didn’t mind, because the aroma of the chili bubbling away filled the house all afternoon. We left (leaving the boys to make sure our chili didn’t burn on the stove) with the chili at a low temperature, and took Brittany to her drill team performance at a middle school football game. As we returned to the house, and the last rays of sun were leaving the sky, we were welcomed again to that enticing aroma. We baked a bit of cornbread as fast as we could, and sat down to eat.

And eat we did! I think we were more than stuffed (it’s hard to put down your spoon!) when we finished. Fall had officially arrived in our home, because there was chili.

Gluten-Free Texas Red

note: If you can’t find the varieties of chiles shown here, don’t fret. Any combination of chiles will work, but mind the heat – some chiles are hotter than others!

8 dried anchos

5 dried guajillos

4 New Mexico chile peppers

2 dried chipotles

2 T beef tallow, lard, or bacon grease

5 lbs chuck roast, cubed into ¼ inch dice

1 large onion, diced

6 garlic cloves, minced

1 c brewed coffee

1 12 oz bottle GF beer (or beef broth)

2 c water

½ t cinnamon

½ t ground cloves

½ t ground allspice

1 t ground coriander

½ t cayenne

2 T cumin

3 chipotles in adobo

1/3 tablet Mexican chocolate (such as Abuelita)

Salt to taste

Chopped onion, cilantro, and cheese (or Daiya for dairy-free) for garnish

Remove the stems and seeds from the chiles. Heat a dry cast iron skillet to medium heat and toast the chiles until fragrant, about 1 minute. Cover with water and bring to a boil briefly. Reduce to a simmer. Allow to simmer while you work on the rest of the chili.

In a large stockpot, heat beef tallow, lard, or bacon grease over medium high heat. Add beef (you might have to do this in batches) and brown, stirring occasionally. Remove and repeat with other batches. Remove and set aside. Add onions and garlic to the stockpot and sauté for 6-8 minutes or until soft. Add back the beef, and add the coffee, beer, water, and spices. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.

By now, your chiles should have softened. Drain the chiles, and add them to a blender along with 1-2 cups of water. Add the chipotle chiles. Puree in the blender until smooth. Add the chile puree and the Mexican chocolate to the stockpot and stir in.

Allow chili to simmer for 4-5 hours, adding salt, checking seasoning and adjusting as needed. Add more water if it becomes too thick. When ready to serve, check seasoning once more, and serve with desired garnishes.

Makes 6-8 servings.


Filed under Beef, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Main Dishes, Soups

14 responses to “Kids in the Kitchen: “Texas Red” Chili

  1. What a different and delicious looking chili recipe. I’m not from Texas so my chili always includes tomatoes and beans, but I’d be more than willing to taste a bowl of that Texas Red.

  2. YUM, YUM, YUM!!! Brittany is my kind of gal! This looks delicious and what Dale and I grew up on – me in Texas, him in New Mexico. No beans, no tomatoes. Just good chiles for the chili! And the perfect meat for this dish – one of my favorites – Chuck Roast! I’m going to have to make this exactly as you have it here! Can’t wait!!!!!

    I have 15 pounds of dried Hot New Mexico RED in a bag waiting for me to wash, rinse, reconstitute, drain and strain into jars. I could use some help. 😉

  3. Alta! The color of that chili is so beautiful that I thought there were beets in it. LOL But your recipe looks amazing. My husband would absolutely love EVERYTHING about that chili. I think I am going to make it this weekend, since we are actually going to be having a cold spell here! Yay! This one looks wonderful.

  4. KatieC

    So sad we missed this!! It’s probably better we didn’t expose you, though; I’m STILL out of work with whatever this crud is. Sounds like you guys had a great weekend. I’m definitely going to have to make this since I didn’t get to sample it on Saturday. 🙂

    Hoping to see you soon!!

  5. You are a gal after my own heart Alta! My guys will love this, my 7 year old especially. After we brought home our fresh roasted Hatch green chile this year, he ate half of them before we could bag and freeze them!

  6. I absolutely must try a bowl of Texas Red one of these days. I’ve seen it so many places and watched folks on television cook it and it always looks delicious! Thanks for a great recipe so that I can now try it in my own kitchen.

  7. This looks great! What part of Texas do you live in? I’m in Houston, but I am transplant, so even though I love chili, I can’t claim any expertise on it. But maybe I can try this recipe for my husband’s company’s next chili cook-off! 🙂

    btw, the spicy fingers drive me crazy, and then when you accidentally scratch your eye – watch out! but i have found that rubbing your fingers with citric acid (lemon, lime, whatever you have lying around) immediately after cutting the peppers, actually pulls the chili oils off and then you can rinse your fingers under running water. this way i can avoid using gloves (i hate losing the tactile sense!).

    thanks for posting a great recipe and great photos.

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  9. tastyeatsathome

    Heather – I am in the Dallas area. Houston’s great. Okay, maybe not the weather so much, but it’s not like Dallas is known for awesome weather. 🙂 Thanks for the tips!

  10. Now that is a bowl of chili! If the flavor is any near as rich as the color, then this must be fantastic.

  11. Yum, this chili looks delicious!! It’s one of the best things to look forward to during the winter! You should really consider submitting this to Recipe4Living’s Champion Chili Contest It looks delicious!

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