Introduction: Chili From a Texan

Hot chili and no beans. That means you can eat this on a first date!

Special gifts are in the recipe roll at the end.

Here's the print version, crafted by the writer Jimmy O, himself.

Jimmy’s Wire Service Chili

Those of us who hail from the land of natural gas and rattlesnakes know that chili is more than a meal. It is a state of mind. You don’t cook chili. You don’t make chili. You don’t fix chili. (It may break you, but you’ll never break it.) As the sage of Luckenbach, Texas, the late Hondo Crouch, observed one day swilling his beer... chili happens.

When chili happens at my house, several seemingly unrelated events are ritualized:

• I open the first beer out of the nearest coldest six-pack.

• I crank some vintage Willie Nelson.

•I put on my kickers to keep my posture braced for the vapors (that have been known to induce dizzy spells in the faint-of-heart or cause paint to peel in some trailers.

• I open my second beer.

Then, in a seasoned black cast-iron kettle, Dutch oven, or suitable container (anything in the 4-5-quart variety to handle the ingredients,) take:

3-4 Tablespoons of vegetable oil

3-4 Yellow onions, finely chopped, (allow one onion per pound of meat is a good rule)

5-6 Large garlic cloves crushed with a blade and finely minced

Sauté until transparent, but don’t let the garlic burn.


2-3 Pounds of lean, boneless chuck roast cut up in 1-inch chunks or cut into chunks and with the steel blade of a Cuisinart, pulsed quickly until torn and shredded -- but not ground. If the beef stew meat looks good, go for it. IF YOU ARE EATING ALONE, TWO POUNDS OF MEET IS PERFECT, JUST TAPER OFF ON THE GROUND CHILE.(Ground round or sirloin is the quick, but cowards, way out. But as I was raising two sons, I found that it frequently became the shortest distance between two points.)

Mix well with the onions and garlic and cook at medium high temperature until the meat turns gray and the excess water and fat cooks out. Drain off all but a ladle full of the excess liquid.

You are now ready to “season” the mixture. All measurements should be “to taste” but these are minimum guidelines:

2 Heaping tablespoons of cumin seed

2 Tablespoons kosher salt

1 Tablespoon oregano

1/2 Level teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 Level teaspoon ground clove (This actually imparts some fire to the process!)

1 Teaspoon Hershey’s cocoa powder. (Or a quarter slice of Mexican chocolate with cinnamon.)

1 Teaspoon Dijon or any yellow mustard

4-5 Tablespoons of ground Chili Powder*(or one tablespoon per pound of meat of ground New Mexico Chimayo red chile.) If you have access to Whole Foods, their Valle del Sol chili powder is quite good. (If you have access to a Latino market, you can get these chilies ground. In which case, get some ground Chipotle. Use in a one-to-four ratio with regular ground chile. Imparts a slightly smoky flavor.)

*Note: If you are able to use honest-to-God red chile, I recommend 2 tablespoons of New Mexico, ground, Chimayo medium-hot red chili per pound of meat. This is the essence of the dish.

The seasoning mixture should be prepared ahead of time and thoroughly blended in a bowl. While still at medium-high heat, add the seasoning mixture to the meat and combine thoroughly. Then, add:

1 Bottle of good Mexican beer, preferably. (It excites the spices, really!)

1 6-ounce can good quality tomato paste 4 Cups of water. (Or enough to cover all ingredients comfortably, and this does vary with amount of meat.)

If you want to bump up the heat factor, add a Chipotle chili to the mixture. Chipotles are nothing more than a smoked Jalapeno, that’s been canned or dried. Try it with normal seasoning first. The heat of the chili should not suppress the flavor.

Bring the mixture to a low boil and then cook about 30 minutes at medium high. Then cover and reduce heat to very low. Cook at barely a simmer until the meat basically falls apart. Check occasionally to see if water needs to be added.

You don’t want it soupy I generally cook my chili four to six hours, depending on the volume of meat. Less meat, less time.

Thirty minutes before serving, stir in 2 tablespoons of yellow corn meal and 2 tablespoons of flour; three tablespoons of Masa Harina; or 3-4 corn tortillas, shredded to thicken the brew.

And, please... No Beans! Beans are used when times are hard and meat is scarce. If you want beans, cook beans. If you want chili, well... you get the picture.


I do not own the rights to any music used in Kitchenbob. Music: Doc and Merle Watson - Fisher's Hornpipe/Devil's Dream from the album Black Mountain Rag. Rights owned by Concord Music Group - Permission Pending