Few things will combat a chilly day like this comforting dish of ground beef simmered in aromatic vegetables and spices: chef Richard Caruso's Tex-Mex take on classic chili at the New York City restaurant, Javelina. It's also perfect for feeding a crowd during, say, the biggest football game of the year: You can make it in advance, freeze it, then heat it back up for game day. The most important part is having plenty of topping options, including cheese, cilantro, white onion and tortilla chips.
The masa paste added into the chili is key to thickening the dish to the right consistency. If you can't find masa flour, use two tablespoons of finely ground cornmeal instead. However, do make sure to use ancho chile powder and not just whichever chile powder you have on hand. Ancho chile powder is typically lower in heat than other varieties and does not have other spices mixed in, like many generic chile powders.
To learn more, read "Snacks vs. Skins."
Texas Red Chili
Recipe adapted from Richard Caruso, Javelina, New York, NY
Yield: 8 cups
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 15 minutes
½ cup lard or vegetable oil
1 cup chopped white onion, plus more for garnish
8 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 red bell peppers—stemmed, seeded and diced
2 green bell peppers—stemmed, seeded and diced
1 vine-ripe tomato, cored and roughly chopped
2½ pounds ground beef
¾ cup ancho chile powder
½ cup cumin
¼ cup dried oregano
¼ cup paprika
Kosher salt, to taste
1¾ cups beef stock
2 tablespoons masa flour
2 tablespoons warm water
Sour cream, for garnish
Shredded cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese, for garnish
Crushed tortilla chips, for garnish
Cilantro leaves, for garnish
1. In a large saucepan, heat the lard over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, peppers and tomato, and cook until soft, 6 to 8 minutes.
2. Add the ground beef and cook, breaking up the beef with a wooden spoon, until the meat is no longer pink, 5 minutes. Add the ancho chile powder, cumin, oregano, paprika and a large pinch of salt, and cook until fragrant, 2 minutes. Pour in the stock and bring to a simmer. Cook until the liquid has reduced slightly, 30 minutes.
3. In a small bowl, mix the masa flour with the water until a paste forms. Stir the paste into the chili and continue to cook until thickened, 15 minutes more. Season with salt.
4. Divide the chili among bowls; top with the onions, sour cream, shredded cheese, tortilla chips and cilantro; and serve.