One of the few things I can cook competently is Tex-Mex
chili. It’s basically a pot of meat cooked with red chile and
onion. No beans, no tomato. Hearty and delicious with tortillas, sharp
cheddar, fresh onion, and sour cream garnishes.
I’ve learned to make chili from scratch. But if you want to
cheat, Wick Fowler’s 2 Alarm Chili
Kit is a reasonable compromise. It’s not as good as making it
the hard way but it’s still pretty good, particularly if you bump
it up with some of your own chile powder.
To make it from scratch, I use this
Homesick Texan recipe. I love her blog and cookbook. It’s a very fussy recipe but
makes an excellent result. Over time I’ve modified it a bit.
- Working with all those kinds of whole chile makes a well
rounded flavor but is a lot of effort (and tricky shopping). I usually
end up using some powdered New Mexican red chile instead of some or
all of the varieties she calls for, you just dump it in like a spice
(a lot of it; more than half a cup for 4 pounds of meat if that’s
all the chile you use).
- The chipotle in adobo is the most
important extra flavor and is easy to add from a can. Beyond that you
want dried chiles and the extra work that entails. Cayenne is for heat,
- The recipe calls for chuck roast. I use half ground
beef for texture. You can also use 100% ground beef which saves a lot of
- Leave out the clove. Too much can ruin the
dish and it’s not worth the risk.
- The beer and coffee
aren’t really necessary but are nice to add some bitterness. You
just need enough liquid of some sort. I use boxed beef broth instead of
I grew up with this kind of food.