This here is real Chili Con Carne! Made with chopped beef chuck, ground pork and a puree of soaked ancho and guajillo chiles, garlic, cumin, and other spices that simmers and thickens for a perfect Tex Mex chili meal.
Loving the Summer evenings lately, weekend picnics and potlucks and one of my favorites things to eat is a flavorful and filling chili.
Most people assume that chili always has beans in it, but if you’re going the tradition route, beans are a no go ingredient. For my Tex Mex influenced Chili con Carne it’s all meat and a sauce made from chiles, peppers and spices. Eight to be exact and the sauce simmers away and thickens.
No tomatoes, no beans, no thickeners needed for this one.
The Start of Tex Mex
I’ve been reading up on the history and influence of Tex Mex food lately and it’s so interesting. One point being how it was difficult for the Spanish to get colonists from Spain to come over to the wilderness today known as San Antonio, Texas and in 1731 recruited 15 families from the Spanish colony of the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa to settle and build it up. The families were given titles as an enticement.
This has been a possible reason for the different exotic influence of spices and how they were used compared to the traditional Mexican flavors traced back to Mexico City, which was entirely different. Original inhabitants of the Canary Islands were the Guanche, a Berber people hailing from Morocco where the heavy use of spices in foods was the norm.
Real Chili con Carne
For this chili con carne you’ll need to soak the dried chiles in boiling water and let them sit for a bit to soften. They are then added to a blender and puréed with garlic, jalapeños and spices.
If you can’t find the dried chiles, substitute 1/3 cup chili powder and obviously skip the soaking part and go straight to Step 2 in the directions in the recipe card below. Instead of the soaking liquid you can use hot water when puréeing.
After the beef and pork are browned in a pan, chopped onions go in and get a little charred. This is all about building LAYERS of flavors.
The chili purée is poured on top of the browned meat and gets cooked a little then water goes in to cover.
Bring this to a boil, cover and simmer away on low for two hours. After an hour I take a peak, stir it up and if it looks a little too thick I add some more water.
What comes out of the pot is a thickened chili in the traditional sense. If there is too much liquid you can let it boil for a minute or two with the lid off and stir it so nothing sticks and burns, but that is seldom the case in my experience.
I like to have all sorts of toppings like diced onions, shredded cheese, sour cream, chopped cilantro and jalapeño slices. Serve this with some homemade cornbread and you have yourself a great meal.
For other Tex Mex and Summer type meals try my Tex Mex Stuffed Peppers, Tex Mex Chicken Corn Soup, Chili Colorado with Potatoes or a great one for parties as an appetizer is my Tex Mex Hot Corn Dip. Enjoy!
Real Chili Con Carne
- 2 lbs beef chuck (diced 1/4 inch cubes)
- 2 lbs ground pork
- 1 onion (large, chopped)
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil or lard
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 4 dried Ancho chiles
- 4 dried Guajillo chiles
- 2 jalapeño or serano chiles
- 8 garlic cloves
- 2 tbsp ground cumin
- 2 tbsp paprika
- 1 tbsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp Mexican oregano
- 2 tsp sugar
- Place dried chiles in a container, cover with boiling water and weigh down to submerge (I use a plate). Set aside to soften for 20 minutes. Remove and discard seeds (for less heat, optional) and stems.
- In a blender purée soaked chiles, 2 cups of the soaking liquid, garlic, cumin, paprika, black pepper, Mexican oregano and sugar (See Note 1).
- In a large skillet or Dutch oven heat vegetable oil over medium high heat and brown the diced beef chuck and ground pork. Season with salt. Add the onion and cook for 3 minutes.
- Poor chili purée over browned meat and cook for 3 minutes, stirring often. Add enough water to cover by an inch and bring to a boil. Close the lid, lower the heat and simmer for 2 hours. Stir occasionally (See Note 2).
- Season to taste. Serve with toppings of choice like shredded cheese, sour cream, onions, cilantro and sliced jalapeños.
- If you can't find the dried chiles, substitute 1/3 cup chili powder and obviously skip the soaking and go straight to Step 2 above. Instead of the soaking liquid you can use hot water.
- If it gets too thick add more water OR if there is too much liquid then add 2 tablespoons of lard or vegetable oil and 2 tablespoons of flour to a fry pan and cook for several minutes. Stir this into the chili and cook for 3-5 minutes until chili is thickened.