Football season and chili are synonymous to me. This football season, Jeff and I thought it would be fun to try different types of chili every other weekend, the weekends we didn’t have the kids (they can’t handle spicy, and aren’t too crazy about beans). This one was so good that we made it twice this season!
Beef chili is such a classic, but neither Jeff nor I are very fond of chili dishes that use ground beef. Jeff prefers a tri-tip or other similarly hearty cuts of beef. This Emeril Lagasse dish uses nice big chunks of stew meat. It is packed with a wonderful blend of seasonings, including cayenne pepper and jalapenos (adjust to taste) to bring on the heat. Since he original recipe only uses jalapenos as a garnish, jeff and I added a few fresh jalapenos into the actual chili base. The tomato and beef broth base are simmered into a delicious rich sauce that is thickened with a masa flour slurry — definitely the best part about this dish.
The masa flour is the only item that might be tricky to find in some parts of the country. Out here in Southern California, we can find it in any Mexican market, as well as Wholesome Choice. I recommend ordering it online if you can’t get your neighborhood markets to order and stock it…because the masa makes a world of difference in the chili base. Some food sites suggest that you can substitute ground up corn tortillas mixed with a bit of water for the slurry, but we tried that the first time and it just doesn’t taste the same.
This chili is best when slow-simmered for a couple hours. It is the perfect dish to enjoy on a lazy Saturday or Sunday afternoon at home.
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 cups chopped onions
- 2-3 fresh jalapenos or 2 Anaheims or 1 bell pepper
- Cayenne (to taste–1/4 to ½ tsp for us)
- 2 pounds stew meat
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- Crushed red pepper (to taste–about a teaspoon for us)
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
- 3 cups crushed tomatoes
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 2 cups beef stock
- 1 cup canned dark red kidney beans
- 2 tablespoons masa flour
- 4 tablespoons water
- 1 bag Tortilla Chips (optional)
- 1½ cups grated Monterey Jack cheese (optional)
- 6 tablespoons sour cream (optional)
- 1 small jar of jalapenos (optional)
- In a large saucepan, heat the vegetable oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions and fresh jalapenos, and saute for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the vegetables start to wilt. Season with salt and cayenne.
- Stir in the stew meat, chili powder, cumin, crushed red pepper, and oregano. Brown the meat for 5 to 6 minutes.
- Stir in the garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, beef stock, and beans.
- Bring the liquid up to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer the liquid, uncovered for 1 hour, stirring occasionally, or until the beef is tender. Skim off the fat occasionally.
- Mix the masa and water together. Slowly stir in the masa slurry and continue to cook for 30 minutes.
- Reseason with salt and cayenne.
- Place a handful of the chips in each shallow bowl. Spoon the chili over the chips. Garnish with the grated cheese, sour cream and jalapenos.