from A Bowl of Red by Frank X. Tolbert

  • 3 lbs. lean beef, preferably stewing meat
  • 2 oz. beef suet (or substitute vegetable oil)
  • 3-6 Ancho chile pods, boiled 5 minutes, cooled, stemmed, seeded and chopped, cooking water reserved. (or 3-6 Tbsp. chili powder or ground chile)
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 Tbsp. crushed cumin seed
  • 1 Tbsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. Tabasco sauce
  • 2-4 minced garlic cloves, to taste
  • 2-4 extra Ancho chile pods
  • 2 Tbsp. Masa Harina or cornmeal

Cook suet until fat is rendered. Remove suet. Sear meat in fat in 2 or 3 batches. (Use oil for low cholesterol, less grease.) Place meat in large pot with pepper pods and as much of the pepper liquid as you think you'll need to keep the meat from burning. About two inches of water rising above the meat is usually right. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 30 minutes. Add rest of ingredients except Masa and extra Anchos. Simmer 45 minutes more, covered. Stir only occasionally. Skim off grease. Taste and adjust seasonings. If not hot enough to suit you, add extra Ancho pods which have been stemmed and seeded, but not chopped. Add Masa Harina to thicken liquid. Simmer for another 30 minutes until the meat is tender.

Variation: Wick Fowler made his prize-winning chili basically the same way, but he did not use suet and added 15 oz. of tomato sauce. He never served the chili on the day of its conception, but kept it in the refrigerator overnight and skimmed off the grease the next day, then added Masa Harina upon heating the chili if it was too thin.

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