January 17, 2005

Texas-Style Chili

Filed under: Food — Chris @ 6:00 pm

Made Texas-style chili this weekend for the first time. For those who aren’t chili connoisseurs, Texans prefer their chili with chunks of beef instead of ground meat and without beans or tomatoes. The end result is a very intense, rich stew of beef–not at all sweet, with a earthy, smokey flavor that comes from the chili powder and cumin. The spiciness of this recipe depends on the type of chili powder you use. I ended up with a very mild chili, because the only “pure” ancho chili powder I could find happened to be mild, and I wanted to follow the recipe closely on this first try. If I make this recipe again, I will be sure to include a mix of spicier chilis.

We accompanied this with buttermilk biscuits from the Gourmet Cookbook (a Christmas gift). This was my first attempt to make traditional biscuits and I was kind of worried, as they have a reputation for being tricky. I was surprised out how well they turned out (though I learned that you can’t cut corners by mushing stray bits of dough into a biscuit-sized lump—if the dough isn’t properly rolled out and kneaded, the separate bits won’t convincingly “fuse” in baking). The only mistake I think I made is using salted butter and not compensating by cutting down or eliminating the extra 1/2 tsp. of salt called for. The biscuits were overly salty as a result, but not inedibly so.

My overall impression is that this meal was “a bit much”. The chili had a 1/4 lb. of bacon (I might have used a bit more) and the biscuits contained a whole stick of butter (about a Tbsp. per biscuit); at the end of the meal, I once again felt overly full and maybe a little nauseous (the story of the weekend).

The bottom line: I appreciate the purity of the Texan approach, but there ain’t nothing wrong with some tomatoes and beans. And don’t get crazy about it, but pay attention to how much fat you’re putting into your meals. Sometimes things can get out of control…


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