Saturday, March 9, 2013
Texas Chili Con Carne
This is my humble version of the real deal Texas chili, which "should" have no beans and no tomatoes, though I cheated a bit with the tomato sauce. I couldn't resist adding in that cup of tart and sweet.
Texas Chile Con Carne
4 dried New Mexican chiles, stemmed and seeded
4 dried Ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
2 dried chiles de Arbol, stemmed and seeded
1 canned chipotle in adobo
6 cups water, divided
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
6 slices thick bacon, chopped into large pieces
2 pounds venison stew meat, beef chuck roast or boneless pork shoulder, cut into large cubes
Salt and pepper
1 large sweet onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, grated
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika
1/2 tablespoon Kosher salt
2 tablespoons ground cornmeal, if needed, for thickness
Side/garnish suggestions: rice, tortillas or tortilla chips, scallions, cilantro, chopped red onion, cheese, sour cream
Combine all chilies in a medium saucepan with 3 cups water. Simmer over medium heat until chilies are completely tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a blender, add tomato sauce, and process until completely smooth.
Meanwhile, heat a heavy pot over medium high heat. Add the bacon and cook until crisp. Remove to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 1-2 tablespoons of fat from the bottom of the pot (reserve the rest in case you need to add more for frying the meat.
Pat the venison dry with paper towels. Working in batches, sprinkle the meat generously with salt and pepper, then add to the pot and brown well on all sides. This is the only chance you get to brown the meat, so don’t rush through it. Remove the meat to a bowl as it finishes and set aside.
Reduce heat to medium and add onions to the pot. Cook, stirring frequently until translucent and softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, cumin, oregano, coriander and paprika and cook, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add venison and cooked bacon back to the pot along with chile puree and the remaining 3 cups water, scraping all the cooked bits off the bottom of the pot. Stir to combine.
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, about 2 hours.
Season liquid to taste with salt and pepper. If needed, whisk in masa in a slow steady stream until desired thickness is reached.
Serve with desired sides/garnishes.
I was actually afraid this would be a little bit too much like my Chile Colorado but I was pretty blown away by how what seemed like minor changes on paper made for an entirely different dish in practice. The finished result was complex, delicious and addictive, like all the best long-simmered sauces and curries. I can't wait to make it again.