Hot Chili for Cold Days


by Frank Davis

Posted on January 4, 2010 at 3:47 PM

Updated Sunday, Oct 27 at 5:11 PM


Winter Chili

The meat mixuture

3 lbs. ground beef (85% lean)
3 medium onions, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
10 oz. Rotel tomatoes with chilies
2 tsp. cayenne pepper
½ tsp. black pepper
5 tsp. salt
1 tsp. garlic hot sauce
½ cup Masa Harina or yellow corn meal
2 oz. chili powder
8 oz. tomato sauce

The Chili Pot-Fixins

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 lbs. coarse-ground beef  (90% lean)
1 cup onions, finely diced
8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 pkg. 2-Alarm Chili Mix (3-5/8 oz.)
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. Frank Davis Beef Seasoning
2 cans 10-1/2 oz. chicken broth
2 cans kidney beans (undrained)
8 cups cooked long-grain rice (or brown rice)
½ cup parsley, minced for garnish
1 cup green onions, thinly sliced for garnish
1 box multi-grain crackers

Start off by putting the 3-pounds of ground meat into a large plastic or stainless steel mixing bowl. 

Then with the help of your food processor, puree the onions, garlic and Rotel tomatoes (plus the liquid the tomatoes came packed in). 

When it’s smooth, pour the pureed mixture over the meat, along with the red pepper, black pepper, salt, hot sauce, cornmeal, chili powder, and tomato sauce. 

Then work everything together by hand until the meat mix is uniformly and thoroughly blended. 

Hint: You might want to wear rubber gloves to do the mixing—the chili powder tends to stain your hands red if you don’t).  Now set the chili mix off to the side at room temperature for about 30 minutes so that the seasonings can marry. 

In the meantime, while the meat is resting, begin frying down the pot-fixins.  

In a heavy anodized or enamel-coated 6-quart Dutch oven bring the vegetable oil to sizzling over medium heat. 

Then drop in the 2-pounds of coarse-ground beef and the cup of onions and fry them down together until the beef fully browns and the onions soften and wilt.  At this point, begin adding to the pot handfuls of the seasoned meat mixture you made previously, stirring and cooking as you add, combining both the seasoned and unseasoned beef together.

Then when all the beef is uniformly combined, drop all the remaining ingredients into the pot one at a time in order—the tomato sauce, the chili mix, the ground cumin, the beef seasoning and the chicken broth. 

Then stir, stir, and stir again!  When everything in the pot is homogenized, bring the mixture to high heat—but without boiling! 

Then immediately reduce the fire to low, stir in the beans, put the lid on the pot, and simmer the recipe for about an hour, stirring occasionally.  (It is also a good idea to taste the chili from time to time as it cooks and make whatever seasoning adjustments you desire).

 When it’s ready, ladle it out—all hot and bubbly—over steamed rice in big soup bowls or chili cups, garnish with a generous sprinkling of parsley and green onions, and serve alongside a stack of buttered crackers.  It’s the ultimate dish for a cold winter evening in N’Awlins.


Chef’s Notes:

1. If you’d prefer a “chunky chili,” you can skip over the pureeing step and mix the onions and garlic into the seasoned meat in diced form.

2. To allow for the maximum flavors to develop, it is best to cover the seasoned meat mix with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator overnight.

3. I suggest you don’t cook the chili in a regular black cast iron pot—the tomatoes will tend to give it a slightly “rusty” taste.  Anodized aluminum or heavy commercial stainless steel is best.

4. You can eliminate a maximum amount of fat from the chili if, when both the seasoned and unseasoned ground beef is finished browning, you drain the mixture in a colander before adding the “pot fixins” (the tomato sauce, chicken broth, etc.).

5. The quantity of liquid in this recipe should be ideal for the ratio of ingredients, but if you find that a little more liquid is needed you can go ahead and pour in tad extra chicken broth or—better yet—even your favorite dark beer.   On the other hand if you find the chili a scant too soupy, you can stir in an extra tablespoon or two of masa harina to thicken the mixture slightly.  All this is nothing more than a matter of preference.

6. If you’d prefer not to put the beans in the chili, you can leave them out.  But here’s the Rule of Thumb—main dish chili always has beans; hotdog chili never has beans.  But it’s your call, cuz it’s your chili!

7. Way at the top of the recipe I said you’ll think you’re making tamales at the outset.  Actually, if you make the seasoned beef mixture, roll them into tamale shapes, liberally coat them with cornmeal, wrap ‘em in corn husks, and cook them in the “pot fixins minus the meat”. . .you got great tamales!