Bears hibernate. Geese fly south. Sharks swim to warmer waters.
If you want to survive a long winter, you have to adapt. That goes for your cooking, too. Gone are the days of quick-seared meals on your grill. A slapped-together lunchmeat sandwich doesn’t have the heft to fortify yourself against the cold. You need heartier meals—heartier meals like Texas red chili.
Take a long weeknight or lazy Sunday to simmer a batch of the stuff and you’ll make a treat you can reheat for lunches to come.
This recipe builds its base with beer, bacon, beef, and dark chocolate.
Sure beats migration.
Red Texas Chile
Recipe by Michael Sindoni, executive chef of CBD Provisions in Dallas, TX
What you’ll need:
½ lb. mixed dried chilies (ancho, pasilla, guajillo), trimmed and seeded
2 12-oz. Mexican beers, such as Negro Modelo
3 Tbsp dark chili powder
2 Tbsp smoked paprika
2 Tbsp mustard powder
½ tsp cayenne
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 Tbsp granulated onion
1 Tbsp granulated garlic
2 Tbsp cumin seeds, toasted, then ground in a spice grinder
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 lbs. ground beef chuck
2 lbs. beef chuck, ¼”-dice
½ lb. slab bacon, ¼”-dice
3 white onions, small dice
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups red wine
1 ½ qt. whole peeled tomatoes, hand-crushed
1 ½ qt. beef or chicken stock
½ cup dark chocolate chips
Kosher salt, to taste
How to make it:
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Spread the chilies on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven until aromatic, 3 to 5 minutes.
Dump the chilies into a medium pot and add the beer. Turn the heat to medium and simmer until the chilies are tender, about 30 minutes.
As the chilies simmer, make the spice rub. In a medium bowl, combine the dark chili powder, smoked paprika, mustard powder, cayenne, ground black pepper, granulated onion, granulated garlic, and cumin. Set aside.
Transfer the chilies and beer to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Set aside.
In a large pot, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the diced beef and cook until browned on all sides, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the beef to a plate lined with paper towels. Next, add the ground beef and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer the beef to a separate plate lined with paper towels. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the bacon, and cook until the fat begins to render and the bacon is slightly crispy. Add 2/3 cup of the spice mix and stir to combine. Cook until aromatic, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until aromatic, about 1 minute. Add 2 cups of the pureed chilies, stir, and cook until well incorporated, about 2 minutes. Add the wine, increase the heat to medium, and simmer until the wine is nearly evaporated, about 10 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, stock, and the reserved beef. Bring the mixture to a simmer and then reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook until the diced beef is tender, 2 to 3 hours.
Add the chocolate and braise until the meat is nearly falling apart, about 1 hour more. Taste for seasoning and serve. Makes 8 to 10 servings.