Winter is upon us, and it is a time for fireplaces and hearty, warm dishes to comfort the body and soul. Among those dishes is a Texas favorite: chili.
Almost every person has their own recipe for chili, based on their own particular tastes. The basic ingredients, though, are meat, tomatoes, garlic, onion, peppers, and spices. These are all cooked together and simmered to allow the flavors to, as Emeril Lagasse used to say on his television show, “Get happy happy!”
With these basics, cooks of all experience levels can experiment and make the chili their own. Here is a basic recipe, though, to get you started:
· 10- to 12-inch skillet, preferably cast iron or non-stick
· 6-qt Dutch oven or soup pot
· Cutting boards (two for meat, one for vegetables, to prevent cross-contamination)
· Cooking spoon or spatula
· Colander and paper towels
· Cheesegrater, if using block cheese
· 8 oz chorizo, preferably pork
· 1 lb ground beef, 90% lean or less
· 12 oz skirt steak, cut into half-inch cubes
· 12 to 24 oz fine pilsner beer
· 28 oz fire-roasted, diced tomatoes
· 28 oz dark red kidney beans, optional – omit for true Texas chili
· 1 small or medium jalapeno pepper, small diced
· 3 cloves garlic, chopped
· ½ medium white onion, diced
· 1/8 cup chili powder
· ¼ cup cumin powder
· Salt and pepper to taste
· Cheddar cheese, shredded, for topping
· Sour cream for topping
Heat skillet over medium heat, then add chorizo. Begin browning chorizo, stirring and scraping occasionally. Add ground beef and cook until begins to brown. Add skirt steak and cook until all is browned. Move meat to colander lined with paper towels and allow to drain.
As the meat drains, add the other ingredients to the Dutch oven and place on the heat. TIP: Use the beer to “wash out” the residue in the bean can(s) to include in the mix. Bring to a soft boil, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Add the meat to the Dutch oven and lower the heat to low or low-medium and allow to simmer for up to an hour, continuing to stir occasionally.
Turn off heat but leave on the burner. Let sit for 15 minutes.
Serve in a bowl topped with cheese and sour cream as desired.