Cooking with Camden - Texas Chili
Cooking with Camden is here! This is a new blog series where we will be sharing awesome recipes peppered with cooking tips and hosting ideas. Just because you are in an apartment doesn't mean you have to sacrifice when it comes to cooking or hosting. Camden communities boast some of the most beautiful gourmet kitchens and apartments that are perfect for both. We will have you showcasing your cooking skills and hosting dinner parties in your apartment in no time!
Right now I have two words for you. Texas. Chili. And by Texas Chili, I mean no beans allowed. I mean don't even say the word bean, look at a bean or think about a bean. Nope. Not happening. Texas Chili is like a warm hug or a big, cozy sweater. I grew up eating this version of chili because my mom is an exceptionally proud Texan. She has made this since I can remember and every time she was cooking it, I would pick up little pieces of her technique. She never used a recipe, so over the years I have adapted it to my own version which I am going to share with you today. Cooking this chili will require time, willpower and most of all patience so prepare yourself ladies and gentlemen. This is a labor of love...but oh so worth it.
- 1/2 large red or sweet yellow onion
- 1 tbsp. butter, unsalted
- 1.5 lbs. of ground chuck (I prefer 80/20)
- 1 lbs. plain ground pork sausage (I use Neese's, which I believe is only sold in NC, but any pork sausage should work fine. Make sure what you purchase is not sage-flavored, but feel free to use hot if you'd like)
- 1 c. Guinness Stout
- 1 32 oz. box of beef stock or broth
- 1 10 oz. can of Ro-Tel diced tomatoes with green chilies
- 1 29 oz. can of tomato sauce
- 1 heaping handful of blue corn tortilla chips
- 3 oz. 65% dark chocolate (I use Ghirardelli)
- Chili Powder
- Garlic Powder
- Salt + White Pepper
- Cayenne Pepper
- Toppings (see below)
(You will notice I did not put measurements for the spices since that, to me, is subjective up to a point. I will tell you how much I did at each stage, but with some of them, depending upon the heat that you want, you can use more or less than I did.)
Here we go!
The first things you need are a large stockpot (or dutch oven) and a wooden spoon. Place on top of medium heat and melt the butter. While that is melting, chop up your onion. Place inside the pot and add a little salt + pepper. You want to cook the onion until it is translucent in color, stirring frequently to make sure they are cooked evenly. Once that is done, place both meats into the pot and break them up a bit. Add 1 tbsp. of cumin and chili pepper, 1/2 tbsp. of garlic powder then add 2 tsp. of salt + white pepper. Mix all of this together and cook the meat through completely. You will need to stir frequently to not only make sure the meat gets evenly cooked, but to also get the meat into small bits (see photo 4 for reference). Once cooked through, drain the fat from the pot.
Now to the good stuff. Pour in 1 c. of Guinness Stout (feel free to indulge yourself in the rest while you cook) and the entire box of broth or stock. Stir together and bring to a hard simmer/small boil over medium-high heat. Let it simmer for about four minutes and then add a can of diced tomatoes with green chilies and a can of tomato sauce. Stir to combine well. Bring back to a simmer and let it go for about 30 minutes or so, uncovered. Add in your tortilla chips (for those scratching your head about why I do this, they act as a thickener and eventually completely disappear into the chili) and stir, mixing them well into the chili. While that is working its magic, take your 3 oz. of dark chocolate and chop it up. Add to your pot and mix into the chili.
Simmer uncovered for another 30 minutes or so. Come back to it and add more spices. Here is where you can be liberal or reserved. I add another tablespoon of cumin and chili powder at this point. I also add salt and a dash of cayenne pepper. This pot can handle all this spice because it is so large, but keep in mind you can't take spice away, so this is not the time to dump but rather taste as you go and add in small amounts until you find it perfect. Once you find your zen with the spices, cover and let it simmer, stirring every so often, for about an hour. It will thicken up quite a bit.
At the end of it all, after permanently scarring your tongue from taste testing, growing an extra bicep from stirring and getting ten stars in your patience column for waiting, you are rewarded with this:
...a bowl of chili that, when you eat it, angels will sing, and unicorns will fly about. It's just that good. I fully expect Food Network to come knocking on my door at any moment now. I feel confident you can expect the same once you give this a whirl. I love to top mine with shredded Colby Jack cheese, sour cream and chives. Some other topping ideas are jalapenos and shredded Cheddar, Frito salad (shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, Fritos and sour cream), guacamole and sour cream, and lastly just some tortilla chips of your choice. The chips also make wonderful dippers as do buttermilk biscuits and cornbread - anyone else getting hungry?
Don't bogart this chili, either! This is a great recipe to use for dinner parties, Superbowl parties, family get together's and even as a hand-delivered dinner for a family with a newborn baby. Here are some great tips for hosting get-togethers in your apartment - 5 Steps to Host a Dinner in a Small Space and 7 Helpful Tips for Hosting a Party in Your Apartment.
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