Five Alarm Texas Chili

Five Alarm Texas Chili

In Texas, this slow-simmered beef dish with its fiery
chilli paste is known as a ‘bowl o’ red’. The more
‘alarms’, the hotter the chili – five is the maximum.

Though chili is a humble food, its origin story is baroquely bizarre. According to legend, the recipe was invented by a 17th-century Spanish nun, Sister Mary of Ágreda, who is said to have gone into trances and teleported to the American West, where she helped to evangelise the Native Americans. Supernatural tales aside, chili was probably invented by poor Texan settlers in the 1800s, who stewed tough chunks of beef into edibility.

You’ll need
500g (1lb) beef mince
1 tbs oil
1 cup (250mL) passata
2 cups (500mL) water
½–2 tsp ground cayenne
pepper (depending on how
spicy you want it)
1½ tsp salt
1½ tsp cumin
1½ tsp oregano
1½ tsp paprika
1 small onion, peeled and
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and
Grated Cheddar cheese and
sour cream to serve

Cooking Method
1 Brown the beef in the oil in a large saucepan over a mediumhigh heat.
2 Add the passata and water and stir.
3 Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer.
4 Simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5 Serve with grated Cheddar cheese and sour cream.

Tasting notes
Texas chili is a hearty meat-and-chilli stew, distinguished from other types of chili by its lack of beans or tomatoes. Though you can sample it at nearly any greasy-spoon diner in the Lone Star State, attending a cook-off is undoubtedly the most authentic way to taste it. Buy yourself a raffle ticket, grab a spoon, and get ready for some heat. The best chilis will be thick and never greasy, with tender chunks of meat and a slow-smoked flavour. The type of chilli used depends on the cook – popular bets are smoky guajillos; rich, dark pasillas; or singing-hot árbols. Cool your mouth down with a fat wedge of cornbread and a slug of Texas lager.

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