STEAK ’N SHAKE GENUINE CHILI

Examining the list of ingredients on a can of this 500-unit midwestern chain’s chili reveals a traditional chili con carne formula with beans as the only vegetable ingredient. There is no tomato sauce in the recipe, as stated by Internet copycats. Nor is there any chocolate or cola in the mix, as some recipes claim. Rinsing a portion of the chili through a wire mesh strainer reveals both small bits and large chunks of tender meat in the chili. But, what kind of meat is it? Well, considering the significant amount of fat floating on top of the chili and the tenderness of the chunks, I concluded that it’s most likely an inexpensive, heavily marbled cut that braises well. Most likely chuck. Get 8 ounces ground up, and another 8 ounces that you slice into bite size chunks. The flour and the cornstarch are added to the recipe to simulate modified food starch, and the dry beef bouillon punches up the flavor along with all the spices. After a two-hour simmer, serve this chili in a bowl on its own, or with shredded cheese and onion on top, or on top of spaghetti noodles in traditional midwestern style.

8 ounces chopped chuck
8 ounces ground chuck
1¾ ounces (⅓ cup) all-purpose flour
1¼ ounces (¼ cup) cornstarch
8 cups water
2½ tablespoons chili powder
5 teaspoons dry beef bouillon (I used Maggi brand)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1¼ teaspoons salt
1¼ teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
⅛ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
3 16-ounce cans light red kidney beans, drained

OPTIONAL
Shredded cheddar/Jack cheese
Diced onion
Spaghetti noodles


Cooking method

1-Brown all the beef in a 3- or 4-quart saucepan over medium heat for 5 minutes or until no pink is visible. Add the flour and stir it into the beef. Cook for 1 minute, stirring often, or until the beef is beginning to brown.

2-Whisk the cornstarch into the water and add it to the pan, then add all of the herbs and spices. Don’t add the beans yet—we’ll toss those in later. Cook the chili over medium heat until it’s bubbling, then turn the heat down and simmer, uncovered, for 1½ hours, stirring occasionally.

3-After 90 minutes of simmering, add the beans and cook the chili for another 30 minutes or until the big chunks of meat are tender. Serve in a bowl or over spaghetti noodles with shredded cheese and diced onion on top, if desired.

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