The real-deal chili is right here. Large chunks of beef chuck steeped in spices, tomatoes, beer, and a bit of chocolate, and cooked in the slow cooker. The first time I had chili with chunks of meat instead of ground beef was in Bandera, Texas, at least 100 years ago. This is good stuff!
Chuck Wagon Chili in the Slow Cooker
Generous 12 cups
1/4 cup chili powder
2 tablespoons whole cumin seeds
1 teaspoon cayenne
3/4 teaspons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons dried Mexican or regular oregano, crumbled between your fingers
3 bay leaves
2 teaspoons brown sugar, light or dark
4 pounds boneless beef chuck, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-2-inch cubes
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 medium onions, coarsely chopped (about 4 cups)
1 1/2 cups chopped celery, including leaves
6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 japapeno chiles, roughly chopped, seeded or not your choice
One 12-ounce bottle dark Mexican beer, such as Negro Modelo
2 tablespoons tomato paste
One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 ounce semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped DO NOT OMIT
3 tablespoons masa harina (corn flour, not cornstarch)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
Grated cheddar cheese, for garnish
Chopped green onion, for garnish
Sour cream, for garnish
1. Combine the first 7 ingredients in a small bowl; set the mixture aside.
2. Add the beef to a medium bowl and season with the peper and 1 tablespoon of the kosher salt.
3. Heat 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add enough beef to fill the pan, don't over crowd, and cook until nicely browned on one side, about 2 minutes. Turn and cook another two minutes. Tranfer browned beef to the crock of a 6-quart slow cooker. Repeat with remaining beef and oil.
4. Add the onion, celery, and 1 tablespoon of the remaining salt to the skillet and cook, stirring, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic, jalapenos, and spice mixture and cook for 1 minute longer. Pour in the beer, tomato paste, and crushed tomatoes and simmer for 3 minutes. Stir in the chocolate, masa harina, and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook for 1 minute longer. Transfer this mixture to the slow cooker. Cover and cook the chili on high, undisturbed or stirring only once during cooking, for 6 hours, or until the beef is very tender. Remove bay leaves and stir in the cilantro and parsley. Serve the chili hot in bowls topped with grated cheddar, chopped green onion, and sour cream.
Come and get it!