Simple Tried and True Texas Chili

  1. 2-3 lbs. of beef, chuck or round
    1/2 lb. of the best double-smoked bacon you can find
    2 large onions, chopped
    1 Tb. ground cumin (or more to taste)
    1-2 Tb. good quality chili powder
  2. 1-2 Tb. paprika (optional, for color and less heat)
    2-4 cloves garlic (optional)
    Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cube the beef into bite-sized chunks. Dice the bacon.
  2. Heat a large heavy pot, fry the bacon until almost crisp. Scoop it out and set aside.
  3. Then fry the meat in the bacon fat until browned on all sides -- you may have to do this in batches. Scoop out the meat and add to the bacon.
  4. Saute the onions (and garlic if you're using it) in the bacon. (Those who really get concerned can drain off some of the fat, but it won't be true Texan at that point.) When it's soft, throw in the cumin, chile powder, and paprika and cook briefly.
  5. Return the meat, cover with water and bring it to a boil. Taste and add salt, then cover and set it to simmer for a couple of hours.
  6. Thicken as needed with cornmeal or tortillas.
  7. Serve with sour cream or cottage cheese, diced onions and, of course, beer. Like all good chilis this is best made a day in advance and reheated.

Chili Trivia:

  • Chili is the official state food of Texas
  • Cincinnati Chili was inspired by Greek and Macedonian immigrants around the turn of the 20th century
  • The intensity of heat in the taste of the Chile peppers usually decreases as the size of the pepper increases