As our first official ‘cold front’ of the season blew in this weekend, there was nothing I wanted more than a fiery bowl of Texas red! While we do not truly have ‘winter’ in Texas (or Louisiana for that matter), there is still something about this dish that seems to mark the start of a new season – which for me in Washington, D.C., includes crisp fall mornings, colorful leaves filling the sidewalks and streets, and, most importantly, the welcome introduction of my favorite fall harvest foods!
So for those of you facing the start a cold winter, cozy up next to a bowl of this Texas red and I guarantee you won’t lose that summer warmth yet!
Beans – To be or not to be?
This post, of course, has one very conspicuous omission. Yes, the burning question on everyone’s mind is: Beans – to be, or not to be? For a thorough account of why true Texans, to this day, choose to prepare their chili sans the beans, I defer to an expert – Texas food historian, Robb Walsh. (Yes you read that right. In Texas, we even have our own food historians!)
To hear a Texan’s thoughts on the cultural importance and history of Texas Red, check out his post here: History of Texas Chili–Without Beans
The short answer? Mr. Walsh sums it up best this way,
“The one-pot meal of ground beef, canned tomatoes and kidney beans that became known as chili in the much rest of the country is a perfectly legitimate version of the dish. It just doesn’t lend itself very well to other uses. Chili dogs, Frito pie, cheese enchiladas in chili sauce and tamales covered with chili are still popular in Texas restaurants today. Which is why we still make chili the way the Chili Queens did–without beans.”
Texas Red, chili served up Texas style
Makes 6 servings, at 4 WW pts/serving
1 lb Stew Cut Beef
4 Garlic Cloves
1 tsp Olive Oil
1 Bell Pepper
1 Serrano Chili pepper
Tony Chachere’s Seasoning
1 (6 oz) Can Tomato Paste
2 (10 oz) Cans Rotel Tomatoes
1 (10 oz) Can Diced Tomatoes
½ cup of dark beer
4 Tbsp Cumin
4 Tbsp Chili Powder
Cheddar Cheese (Red. Fat)
Sour Cream (Fat Free)
Brown stew beef in large pot on medium-high heat. Place approximately ¾ of a large onion (cut into 4 large chunks), 4 garlic cloves, and 1 tsp of olive oil in food processor and puree. (Should be approximately ¾ cup of garlic-onion mixture once fully pureed)
Once beef is fully browned, stir in onion-garlic mixture and sprinkle with Tony’s seasoning (about 1 tsp). Cover, reduce heat and let cook for 5-7 mins. Meanwhile, chop bell pepper and chili pepper then add to onion-beef mixture. Let cook for 5-7 more mins before adding tomato paste to meat mixture. Continue to stir and fully coat meat in tomato paste. Add 2 cans of Rotel, diced tomatoes, and beer. Then while continuing to stir mix in cumin and chili powder. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 1 – 1½ hours.
In Texas, chili is often eaten over rice, topped with a healthy sprinkle of cheese, a dash of sour cream, and avocado. So while the chili simmers, boil up some rice and enjoy!