Dublin goes DFW part four – Beef Chili and Cornbread

Beef chiliNothing is likely to upset a Texan more than telling him you can cook a better chili than he can. No doubt, his recipe will have been passed down through generations of trail hardened cow-pokes. The exact mix of chili, the cuts of meat to use and the number of cans of beer are all closely guarded family secrets. They demonstrate their culinary prowess by boiling up great pots of the stuff on the back of pick-up trucks while downing slabs of beer, tipping back their ten gallon hats and belching to each other. Or so I hear…

It is against this culinary backdrop that I bring you part four in my series of Dublin goes DFW. I plan to cook an excellent Beef Chili and serve it with Cornbread. Already I can see the latter-day stockmen getting hot under the chaps over my using minced as well as cubed beef and not a mix of beef and pork. I know that some will also spin their spurs when I reveal I am adding tinned tomato.

Two types of beef and tomatoes. The Texans won't be happy.

Two types of beef and tomatoes. The Texans won’t be happy.

My ingredients list might raise an eyebrow or two. It runs like this;

  • 750 grammes of minced rib beef
  • 750 grammes of rib beef chunks
  • 1 Salida chili (hot)
  • 1 Salida chili (medium)
  • 3 Guajillo chilis
  • 1 teaspoon of anchote mix
  • 4 onions
  • 3 peppers
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tins of tomatoes
  • 1 tin of kidney beans
  • 1 tablespoon or so of pickled chipotle chili
  • 1 teaspoon of oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 500ml tin of beer
  • 500ml of beef stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Grated cheese to serve
  • 2 limes to serve

First place the chilis in a warm oven to dry them out. Put them in a mortar and bash the life out of them with the pestle.

There was a bit of work in bashing these down to a fine powder.

There was a bit of work in bashing these down to a fine powder.

The powder ends up a beautiful deep red colour.

Look at that beautiful red colour. The aroma was fantastic too.

A ‘bowl of red’ in it’s own right. Look at that beautiful colour. The aroma was fantastic too.

Next, chop the onions into quarters.

I kept the onions nice and big. They will reduce a lot in the cooking.

I kept the onions nice and big. They will reduce a lot in the cooking.

Brown the beef in a big casserole dish. Brown both the chunks and the mince.

Browning the beef adds depth of beef flavour.

Browning the beef adds depth of beef flavour.

While that is going on, fry the cumin in a dry pan and give it the pestle and mortar treatment.

Cumin adds a beautiful extra layer of flavour.

Cumin adds a beautiful extra layer of flavour.

Take the beef out of the pot and add the onions over a low heat. Sweat them down for 20 minutes or so before adding the peppers. Give them another ten minutes.

Stir it to remove all the stuck on bits of beef. The layers of flavour are starting to build.

Stir it to remove all the stuck on bits of beef. The layers of flavour are starting to build.

Next, add the rest of the ingredients, dry ones first, stirring as you go.

The rest of the dryish ingredients get added.

The rest of the dryish ingredients get added.

Next add the anchote to the beef stock. Pour it in. Then pour in the beer. Don’t behave like a Texan at this stage. Pour all the beer into the chili.

The beer gets poured in (to the chili).

The beer gets poured in (to the chili, not the chef).

Put the chili on to a low heat and slow cook it for a couple of hours. Stir it every twenty minutes or so. It will look like this.

We made enough chili to feed the Dallas Cowboys on game night.

We made enough chili to feed the Dallas Cowboys on game night.

Use these couple of hours to make some corn bread. You can pick up the recipe from the original McGary Chili Challenge. When it comes out of the oven and looks like this, you will be proud of it. You can’t do that on a pick-up truck.

No, you're not seeing double. Two perfect cornbreads.

No, you’re not seeing double. Two perfect cornbreads.

Serve the chili in a nice deep bowl with a generous slice or two of the cornbread. I served it with grated cheese and lime wedges.

A fantastic Texas taste comes to Dublin.

A fantastic Texas taste comes to Dublin.

Oh, I also had a couple of beers with it. The Texans got that bit of it right, for sure. I know my Texan friends won’t take any offence with ribbing them in this post. I know they are bigger than that. Sure, everything is bigger in Texas after all…

See the previous posts in the Dublin Goes DFW series here:

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Latest comments
  • Texan? Sounds like it. But it is the fabulous first bowl picture and the chili in the pot picture that have me craving a bowl of the red.

    • Thanks Rosemary. It was pretty excellent and we have plenty of chilis to make lots more.

  • Sure as shootin’, that’s some mighty fine chili, Conor. Except for the beans. But you really must know that Dallas-Fort Worth isn’t the real Texas. Mosey on down to Houston. 🙂 (See, you aren’t the only one who can stir things up.) We have a saying you might enjoy: “Never ask a man if he’s from Texas. If he is, he’ll tell you on his own. If he ain’t, no need to embarrass him.”

    • Thanks Stacy. I would hate to pit ye against each other. Those DFW folk are a pretty proud lot by all accounts.

      Love the quote.

  • oh, it looks fabulous! 😀

    • Thanks Camelia. It worked pretty well.
      Thanks for stopping by.

  • Great recipe and good to see you are using a quality lager!

    • Old Dutchie, the best lager to pour into anything except yourself. There were a couple of tins left over after one of the kids had some friends over.

  • Frank X. Tolbert would be proud. I know that I am, partner…

    • Thanks Adam. I think I’m becoming naturalised Texan by default.

  • I think chilli is open to a lot of interpretation – I doubt the original version had any beef in it at all. However, it certainly does taste good with beef and yours looks good too 😉

    • Thanks MD. I knew there would be some comments on origin. Beef is so good with the chilis.

  • The best thing to come out of Texas, apart from oil I suppose. Delicious.

    • Looks like the oil will run out before the chilis.

  • This is hilarious, it’s like a small piece of Hill Country has emigrated to Ireland. All of it looks and sounds great. Super cornbread. Ken

    • I like that “Hill Country”. The cornbread is super easy and very very tasty, if I say so myself (in a Texas kinda’ way).

  • Wow, I’m making this as soon as I can! The ground and chunks is a perfect idea, no matter what the texas people say

    • They are good folk. I promise. They just have an overgrown sense of what is right in chili. If that was all that bothered one, life would be pretty good.

  • Those cornbreads are perfect! And grated cheese and lime wedges sound like a lovely wonderful topping. I think your chili is a winner. Could be entered in a chili cook off!

    • I would but, I would have to buy a pick up truck and a ten gallon hat to enter!

  • this sounds lovely! The freshly toasted cumin does indeed add a very nice flavor! I’ve only started making chilis a few years ago, and man, have I been missing out 🙂 Every time I make it is different depending on what chilis I have available, but it never disappoints…I should probably give corn bread a chance too 🙂

    • Do give the cornbreads a go. They are very very easy to prepare and add a lovely sweet note to the chili.

  • Amazing-looking chili Connor!

    • Thanks Lidia. A welcome gift from those big hearted Texans.

  • Wow. What a gorgeous step by step. This looks incredible. It definitely gives the Texans a run for their money!

  • Looks really good. If they clutch their chests at the fact you use mince they might just pass out if they knew I did mine vegetarian! 🙂

    • Not even I could go that far! I’m shocked.

      • You should try it, it is really good. And it has kale. Gasp! I did post about it several months ago. My kids love it.

        • Joking aside, I think it could be great. Though those Texans might shoot up my chuck wagon if I do try it.

  • Conor, my Tex-Irish buddy, you got some mighty fine color goin on in that thar chili. It’s almost as red as the pot. It looks and sounds absolutely delicious and I’m sure it was but let’s not get overly carried away. Better than a Texan’s chili? The state food of the great State of Texas. I just can’t go that far. So you need to saunter on over here to Texas and try the real thing. 😉 In the meantime, that good looking bowl of chili you made will just have to do. 🙂 Oh, and by the way, I use ground beef, cubed beef and cubed pork in my bowl of red. If I can get my hands on venison, I use venison instead of the ground beef. It adds a really nice depth of flavor that will take the chili over the top. If you use venison, however, you must use extra fat because it’s too lean.

    • Richard, that is the highest praise for which I could hope. A trip to Texas sounds like something I have to do. I took a sneak peek at your recipe after I cooked this and before I posted. I was impressed with both the quality and the quantity. I did an all venison chili last year. Very tasty too. I have one more to appear in my series – A tex Irish take on pulled pork. More anon….

  • Git yer 10-gallon hat ready, Conor. Because I think you could move to Texas and fit in quite nicely. What an outstanding chili. Well done, pardner.

    • Yeeeee Haaaaa! (throws cowboy hat in air and slaps his chaps).
      Thanks Tommy. That’s mighty neighbourly of ya.

  • yum y’all

  • Looks great, Conor! No purist remarks from me this time around, as I have no clue what goes and does not go into a ‘real’ chili, whatever that means anyway 🙂

    • I love your view on this one Stefan. So many get hot under the collar about ‘genuine’ when it comes to stuff that is cooked differently in every household.

  • Taking on the Texans? You are one brave Irishman! Looks absolutely delicious.

    • They are pussycats really. They probably fear my ‘fighting, drinking, hard living’ Irish reputation…

  • Now this is a great bowl of chili, Conor! The color is perfect. I expected some objections from the Texan contingent about your addition of beans but you snuck them by. Personally, I add at least 1 kind of beans in every pot of chili I make — and I live a heck of a lot closer to Texas than you do. They don’t need a passport to come get me. 🙂

    • Thanks John, Richard McGary really opened my eyes to the various flavours that the chilis have to offer. I will continue to rib them from afar.

  • Wow Conor, I think you’ve gone and cracked it there. And stirred up a hornets nest of course. Looks superb.

    • Thanks Phil,
      All in the best possible taste, of course.

  • Looks great!

  • I think I remember reading somewhere that in those Chilli cook-offs they don’t use tomatoes or beans. Well I can’t see how you can make a chilli without tomatoes and beans. I mean then it would just be chillis with beef

    • Yes, they like to keep it simple over there…

  • Step by step pictured, fragrant recipe, the humor all over, the warm/positive vibe generated from every single word, vibrant-bold-beautiful images and your mighty presence, Conor. This is one hell of a block-buster blog-post to me and you are a superstar 🙂

    I think I haven’t told you lately that I love you 🙂

    • Nusrat, your digital love makes it all worthwhile. Thanks for the beautiful comments.

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