A Recipe From Texas on National Chili Day

rags-chili-starterOff the topic of the Internet today… As a Native Texan, you’d better believe I’ve made a ginormous amount of chili over the years, and I’m proud to say I’ve won a handful of local awards with it in the past.

I’ve learned many tricks and have listened to many opinions, from Texans to folks from what we call out yonder. Some like beans, others no beans, some like spicy and others start tearing up by the glorious chili smell.

So a few years ago a skinned my recipe down to some basics for a little starter recipe I could share. That way people could start there and season to taste, experiment and maybe come up with their own concoction of greatness.

This makes anywhere from 3 to 6 servings depending on who’s eatin’

1lb ground beef, 1lb chili meat or 2 lbs of either
4oz tomato sauce, 4oz Rotel diced tomatoes with green chiles or 8 oz of either
1 cups water, 1 beer (Shiner Bock is my preference) or 2 cups water
2 teaspoons paprika
4 teaspoons cumin
1 tablespoon minced onion flakes
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 cup chili powder
1 teaspoon ground red pepper


1 onion (white, purple, both, or neither)
1 bell pepper (green, red, both, or neither)
1 Hersheys chocolate bar (or Mexican chocolate if you can get some!)
red beans or chili beans (if you go with beans, I recommend Bush’s Chili Beans)

Grab a Big Pot!

Brown the ground beef and chili meat, careful not to overcook it but be sure all of the pink is out of the meat. I use a mashed potato smasher/gizmo to break it up nicely. Drain off the excess.

In the chili pot/cooking vessel of choice stir in the tomato sauce, Rotel, water, beer, paprika, cumin, minced onion, garlic salt, chili powder and red pepper. If you don’t want to use a beer you could just drink it and add another cup of water. Add the meat, stir it all in real good and simmer for 1 hour.

Add the Optional Ingredients

When adding ingredients I recommend simmering for another half hour before another taste test, everything has to become an orchestra in that pot.

After an hour, if you like add about half to 3/4 of the white onion diced (pretty much eyeball it, not to much but not too little), and bell pepper diced. If you want to pretty up the presentation a little bit you could use half of a green bell pepper and half of a red bell pepper for color. Also the optional beans. And tossing in about 1/4 to 1/2 of the chocolate bar is optional too. Its not really enough to taste it, just enough to tickle a taste buds subconsciously maybe but its really mostly for color, again a presentation thing.

Simmer for at least another hour (optional ingredients added or not) and then start your taste testing. You can get as creative as you like with chili! Have a spoonful and let it talk to your senses. Flavor, initial taste, after taste and spice. When adding ingredients I recommend simmering for another half hour before another taste test, everything has to become an orchestra in that pot.

Serve It Up!

We usually dig in down here with a good sized bowl with grated cheese, fritos, crackers and fresh diced onions available to add to it. But the great thing about good chili is it makes so much more than a bowl by itself, and it stores and re-heats well. I generally make five times this recipe and use it all over the course of a week or two with different things. Here a just a few:

  • Chili Cheese French Fries
  • Chili Cheese Nachos
  • Frito Chili Pie
  • Frito Chili Pie Wrapped Up In A Flour Tortilla
  • Beef Enchiladas
  • Chili Dawgs
  • Chili Over Tamales
  • Chili and Scrambled Eggs

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