As you may have noticed, it’s cold. We are winter weather wimps. And for that reason, there has been a lot less sushi and salads, and instead, more soups and roasts at our table lately. One dish we have yet to dine on this season is chili. As a youngster, my dad use to make this fabulous Texas-style chili with brisket, that would slow cook all day until the meat fell apart.

Recently, I ran across a similar award-winning recipe in Saveur, and that was it. The chili had to be made. But what makes it Texas-style chili? There are no beans. It mainly consists of meat and chili sauce, and it will melt off your face. So be sure to have a gallon of iced tea beside you.

Woody DeSilva’s Championship Chili Recipe

adapted from Saveur

4 lbs beef chuck/eye round, trimmed and cut into 1/2″ cubes
4 tbsp vegetable oil
5 medium onions, chopped
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
12 oz tomato paste
4 tbsp dried oregano
3 tbsp chili powder
4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp Tabasco (or other hot sauce)
1 tsp ground cumin
4 tbsp masa harina (optional)
kosher salt
black pepper

For the spicy chili

Season beef generously with salt and pepper. Heat oil in 6-qt pot over high heat. (YES, you need a big pot for this.)

Working in batches, sear the beef for around 3 minutes per batch. Transfer beef to plate. NOTE: Be sure not to crowd the pan, or the meat will boil instead of sear. If it boils, the meat will dry out and become tough. The subsequent cooking in liquid will not fix this.

Once beef is done and set aside, reduce heat to medium high and add onions and garlic. Cook until soft and slightly caramelized, about 10 minutes.

Add tomato paste and stir. Add beef. Cook, stirring frequently while scraping bottom of pot with wooden spoon until tomato paste caramelizes, about 12 minutes.

Stir in spices and hot sauce, and cook for 1 minute.

Add 5 cups of water and bring chili to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for at least 2 hours, until meat starts to fall apart. Stir in the masa harina (if desired), and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt.

If you prefer not to have your head liquefy, reduce the amount of cayenne in the recipe, as needed.

Serve with fresh onion, sharp cheddar, sour cream and a water hose.

2 thoughts on “woody desilva’s championship chili

  1. So excited to try this! A real Texas recipe with ingredients I can find in Eastern Europe (sans the sharp cheddar). Can't wait to warm up with real TX chili!

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