Is It Beans Or No Beans For This Year’s Chili Day?
When it comes to chili, there is one debate that has stood the test of time. Should chili have beans or no beans? National Chili Day is Thursday, February 27th, and we want to see what you think.
Here in Texas, we say no to beans in our chili. In fact, Texas chili sets itself apart from the rest as we skip the beans and tomato product. Texas chili is known to be mostly meat and a thick chili paste. In Texas, “chili” is shorthand for chile con carne, which translates to “chile peppers with meat. Many outsiders says that Texas chili is more like a stew.
If you are looking to make your own Texas chili, here is one of the top-rated recipes online:
TRUE TEXAS CHILI
- 2 ounces dried, whole New Mexico (California), guajillo, or pasilla chiles, or a combination (6 to 8 chiles)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin seed
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Kosher salt
- 5 tablespoons lard, vegetable oil, or rendered beef suet
- 2 1/2 pounds boneless beef chuck, well trimmed and cut into 3/4-inch cubes (to yield 2 pounds after trimming)
- 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
- 3 large cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups beef stock , or canned low-sodium beef broth, plus more as needed
- 2 1/4 cups water, plus more as needed
- 2 tablespoons masa harina (corn tortilla flour)
- 1 tablespoon firmly packed dark brown sugar, plus more as needed
- 1 1/2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar, plus more as needed
- Sour cream
- Lime wedges
- Place the chiles in a straight-sided large skillet over medium-low heat and gently toast the chiles until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Don't let them burn or they'll turn bitter. Place the chiles in a bowl and cover them with very hot water and soak until soft, 15 to 45 minutes, turning once or twice.
- Drain the chiles; split them and remove stems and seeds (a brief rinse helps remove seeds, but don't wash away the flesh). Place the chiles in the bowl of a blender and add the cumin, black pepper, 1 tablespoon salt and 1/4 cup water. Purée the mixture, adding more water as needed (and occasionally scraping down the sides of the blender jar), until a smooth, slightly fluid paste forms (you want to eliminate all but the tiniest bits of skin.) Set the chile paste aside.
- Return skillet to medium-high heat and melt 2 tablespoons of the lard. When it begins to smoke, swirl skillet to coat and add half of the beef. Lightly brown on at least two sides, about 3 minutes per side, reducing the heat if the meat threatens to burn. Transfer to a bowl and repeat with 2 more tablespoons of lard and the remaining beef. Reserve.
- Let the skillet cool slightly, and place it over medium-low heat. Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of lard in the skillet; add the onion and garlic and cook gently for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the stock, the remaining 2 cups water and gradually whisk in the masa harina to avoid lumps. Stir in the reserved chile paste, scraping the bottom of the skillet with a spatula to loosen any browned bits. Add the reserved beef (and any juices in the bowl) and bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce heat to maintain the barest possible simmer (just a few bubbles breaking the surface) and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is tender but still somewhat firm and 1 1/2 to 2 cups of thickened but still liquid sauce surrounds the cubes of meat, about 2 hours.
- Stir in the brown sugar and vinegar thoroughly and add more salt to taste; gently simmer 10 minutes more. At this point, it may look like there is excess sauce. Turn off the heat and let the chili stand for at least 30 minutes, during which time the meat will absorb about half of the remaining sauce in the skillet, leaving the meat bathed in a thick, somewhat fluid sauce. Stir in additional broth or water if the mixture seems too dry. If the mixture seems a bit loose and wet, allow it to simmer a bit more (sometimes we like to partially crush the cubes of beef with the back of a spoon to let them absorb more sauce). Adjust the balance of flavors with a bit of additional salt, sugar, or vinegar, if you like.
- Reheat gently and serve in individual bowls with a dollop of sour cream on top and a lime wedge on the side.
For those who are a fan of bean-loaded chili, here is one of the most popular bean chili recipes online:
THE BEST CLASSIC CHILI RECIPE
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion -diced
- 1 pound 90% lean ground beef
- 2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper* -optional
- 1 1/2 cups beef broth
- 1 (15 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes
- 1 (16 oz.) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
- Add the olive oil to a large soup pot and place it over medium-high heat for two minutes. Add the onion. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the ground beef to the pot. Break it apart with a wooden spoon. Cook for 6-7 minutes, until the beef is browned, stirring occasionally.
- Add the chili powder, cumin, sugar, tomato paste, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and optional cayenne. Stir until well combined.
- Add the broth, diced tomatoes (with their juice), drained beans, and tomato sauce. Stir well.
- Bring the liquid to a low boil. Then, reduce the heat (low to medium-low) to gently simmer the chili, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove the pot from the heat. Let the chili rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.