Look at that beauty right there. Resembles your typical Texas chili, right? Hearty and spicy, meaty and rich, and, of course, absolutely bean-less?
Yeah, totally. Except for one secret, slightly blasphemous ingredient.
In this almost-Texas Bowl of Red, we decided to throw in some bittersweet chocolate -- and trust us, it works. A little goes a long way, here; it evokes the suppleness of a good mole, and the delicate beef cubes virtually melt in your mouth. The creeping heat from the homemade chili paste (which is really not that much work) rounds out the bowl, making it our perfect Texas chili -- and then some. We highly recommend a spritz of lime juice, a dollop of sour cream, and a great football game to finish it off.
>> RELATED: 10 Classic Recipes for Game Day
Like barbecue or chocolate chip cookies, chili has inspired many a debate. Connoisseurs know that there are as many versions as there are cooks who make it. How do you take your chili? With beans, without, pork, beef, or veggie?
Browse through our recipes for Your Best Chili contest -- you'll be sure to find one to fit your wildest, most blasphemous chili cravings. And check out our Super Bowl menu to round out your meal!
>> RELATED: 7 Sophisticated Football-Watching Snacks
A Bowl of Red
2 ounces dried chile pepper pods, mostly New Mexico with a couple Guajillos tossed in
1. Wearing rubber gloves, stem and seed the chile pods and cover with near-boiling water. Let steep for 30 minutes, then pour off the water and puree the softened pods in a food processor until they form a paste. Pass through a sieve to remove skins and errant seeds. Set aside.
1 1/2 tablespoons bacon fat
3 pounds chuck (after trimming), neatly diced into 1/2 to 3/4-inch cubes (partially freeze the meat for easier dicing)
1/2 pound ground pork
lots of freshly-ground pepper
1 1/2 - 2 cups homemade beef or chicken broth
1 gigantic sweet onion (about one pound), diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
8-10 tablespoons premium commerical chili powder, such as Whole Foods or Gebhardt's
2 tablespoons ground cumin, toasted briefly
healthy pinch oregano
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 cups tomato sauce
1/2-ounce square bittersweet chocolate
2 tablespoons brown sugar
plenty of shredded cheddar, sour cream and lime wedges for serving
1. Heat the bacon fat in a really big skillet, and working in batches, saute the beef and pork until no longer pink. Drain off the fat.
2. Place the meat, along with several grinds of pepper, the onions and garlic, in your favorite chili pot and add 1 1/2 cups of the beef or chicken broth. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer, and cover. Keep the lid on, and your hands off, for 90 minutes.
3. After 90 minutes, stir in the chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, tomato sauce, chocolate and half the chile paste. Cover and cook for another half-hour or so. Chase away your guests, who will no doubt be hovering around, demanding to know when it's going to be ready.
4. At this point, check for consistency. If it's too thin, scoop out the meat and reduce the sauce by bringing to a boil, and when you're happy with it, return the meat to the pot. Stir in the brown sugar. (If it's too thick, add some more of the broth.) Smack any guest who gets too close with a wooden spoon.
5. Cook, uncovered, for 10 more minutes, and check for seasoning. You can add more salt, chili powder and cumin if you like, or more chile paste if you want to amp it up, or more brown sugar if you like it sweet and hot.
6. When it looks as good as it smells, summon the troops and serve with a squeeze of lime and a dollop of sour cream. (But have some cheese on hand anyway for the die-hard cheddar lovers!)
Got a question in the kitchen? The Food52 Hotline is here to help!
What's for dessert? Chocolate, of course. Check out our favorite chocolate desserts here.