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Charmed Texas Chili

    5 1/2 lbs Beef, Coarse Ground for Chili
    2 medium-large onions, finely chopped
    6 New Mexico Chili pods
    6 De Arbol Pepper pods
    2 tablespoons Adams brand Oregano in 1 cup of water* ("tea")
    12 cloves of garlic, pressed
    12 rounded tablespoons Adams brand Chili Powder
    2 tablespoons Adams brand Ground Cumin
    1 teaspoon Adams brand Cayenne Pepper
    1/2 teaspoon sugar
    1 15-oz can Hunts Tomato Sauce
    2 tablespoons Tarragon White Wine vinegar
    2 1/2 teaspoons Cholula sauce
    Black pepper and Salt to taste
    1/2 cups chili water (water leftover from boiling the dried peppers)

    Remove stems and seeds from chili pods. Place chili pods in saucepan, cover
    with about 1 1/2 cups of water, and boil for 30-40 minutes.
    Mash the larger chili pods through a sieve to remove membrane. Make a paste
    of the pulp. Chop up the softened smaller peppers and add to the chili paste.
    DO NOT THROW OUT THE WATER.
    Hold for later.

    Prep Tip: Get some help in the kitchen. While one helper chopped onions and
    pressed garlic another was browning the meat and I was measuring
    ingredients and supervising the entire operation.

    Make a "tea" of the oregano leaves by brewing in 1 cup of boiling water. Strain
    the "tea" and set aside.

    Brown meat 1 pound at a time, seasoning with black pepper.

    Brown onions along with the meat. Use slotted spoon to remove meat and
    onions to your chili cooking pot as it browns.

    Crush garlic cloves. If you don't have a garlic press, chop and crush with a
    knife but make sure it's well crushed.

    To the meat mixture add the garlic, chili powder, cayenne powder, cumin,
    sugar, oregano "tea," and vinegar, and Cholula sauce. Cook for 5 minutes on
    medium heat, stirring constantly.

    Add the chili paste, chili water, and tomato sauce to the pot. Mix thoroughly.
    Reduce heat and simmer covered, stirring occasionally, for about 2 hours.
    (Alternatively, put it all in a slow cooker and simmer all day long or overnight -
    add a little extra liquid.)

    Serving suggestion: Dish up a steaming bowl of chili with homemade corn
    tortillas on the side.
    I'd never made tortillas before but these were super easy with an instant masa
    mix. I used Maseca brand (from Azteca Milling, a Texas company). A nice
    change from cornbread.

    This Charmed Chili was just right in texture and heat, according to my official
    taste-testing team of judges. (The homemade tortillas were a big hit too.)

    Recipe by Jacci Howard Bear


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