“In Texas, where the dish originated, strong men have been known to do battle over the proper way to cook chili con carne. This recipe can be made with ground beef, but the cubed beef has more character. Serve in the traditional manner, with red pinto beans and fluffy rice.”
Marion Cunningham, The Fannie Farmer Farmer Cookbook
Somewhere, Marion Cunningham has a longer article on Cowboy Beans, which is never to be confused with chili, which is always meat. This is a report, not an argument. Some would argue that the spicing is what makes the chili. They are not from Texas.
Cowboy beans always make me think of Mel Brooks…you know the scene from the movie.
So get ready for Wednesday, because it’s chili night. This one meat and more meat. MC recommends chuck, but I’ve used the on-sale marked-down stew meat….really good.
CHILI CON CARNE
2 pounds beef chuck in 1 inch cubes
2 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons bacon grease
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 cup water.
1. Roll the beef cubes in flour.
2. Heat the grease in a heavy pot with a lid.
3. Brown the floured meat – don’t crowd or it will steam – turning it to color it on all sides. Start with as much as will cover 2/3’ s of the bottom of your pan, letting the first batch sit undisturbed for 2 minutes to get good color. As you turn to side 2, add some more in the empty spaces. It’s worth the 15-20 minutes to be fussy with the browning. Don’t hurry it and don’t crowd it.
4. Add the garlic and the chili powder and stir through for another minute. It should smell heavenly.
5. Add 1 cup water. Stir around to loosen up the good bits on the bottom.
6. Cover and simmer for 2 hours. If it gets too thick for your tastes, add more water.
7. Add salt to taste.
8. May be made ahead and reheated.
From The Fannie Farmer Cookbook. Edited by Marion Cunningham with Jerie Laber. pp. 167-8.