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Simple Tried and True Texas Chili

    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 (I use Santa Cruz hot, but adjust this for
    taste)
    1-2 Tb. paprika (optional, for color and less heat)
    2-4 cloves garlic (optional)
    Water
    Salt and pepper to taste

    Cube the beef into bite-sized chunks. Dice the bacon. Heat a large heavy pot,
    fry the bacon until almost crisp. Scoop it out and set aside (so it won't get
    burnt). 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. 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. 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. Thicken as needed
    with cornmeal or stale tortillas. 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.


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