I know what you’re thinking – “what’s a British boy who’s never been to Texas doing writing a recipe about Texas Chilli”? It’s true that I have never, to my regret, experienced an authentic Texas chilli yet. But I am obsessed with pretty much everything regarding the cuisine of the southern states of the USA – whether it’s things like smokey BBQ, fried chicken, cornbread, pecan pie… or the Texas Chilli.
What makes a Texas Chilli different from a regular Chilli Con Carne? Well, from what I’ve been able to glean from studying various recipes is that there’s a couple of things that set it apart. The main difference is that there are definitely no beans in a Texas Chilli – whether it’s kidney beans or baked beans, they do not go in! Another difference that I could see was that there’s no tomatoes in a Texas Chilli. So all you’re relying on is the beef, onions and a plethora of spices that is cooked long and slow to create a chilli that is melt-in-the-mouth tender and with a beautiful depth of flavour. For my take on this American classic, I’ve used three different types of beef, including Beef Short Rib that will cook on the bone to give a wonderful, rich flavour. You can experiment with the chillies to get the heat you desire – I found that my recipe gives a nice kick of heat and spice without being overwhelming. I cooked this on the stove in a saucepan, but there’s no reason why you couldn’t cook it in a slow cooker.
To enhance our delicious USA food experience, you can also make homemade Cornbread as well – a delicious, authentic American dish made from Cornmeal (or Polenta, in our case) which is slightly sweet and goes wonderfully with Chilli, stews or just by itself!
Texas Chill with CornbreadPrint Recipe
- For the Chilli:
- 500g Beef Mince
- 450g Steak, diced
- 1 x Beef Shortbread
- 200g Bacon Lardons
- 3 x Romano Peppers
- 2 x Large Onions
- 1 x Garlic Bulb
- 3 x Red Chillies
- 4 x Jalapeños
- 660ml Beer (or Beef Stock)
- 100g Dark Brown Sugar
- 1 Tsp Hot Sauce
- 1 Tbsp Chilli Powder
- 1 Tbsp Smoked Paprika
- 1/2 Tbsp Onion Powder
- 1/2 Tbsp Garlic Powder
- 1 Tbsp Cumin
- 1 Tsp Cayenne
- 1 x Cinnamon Stick
- For the Cornbread:
- 125g Polenta (Cornmeal)
- 125g Plain Flour
- 1 1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
- 120g Butter, melted (50g for the batter, 70g for cooking)
- 1 x Egg
- 100g Sugar
- 240ml Milk
- 1/2 Tsp Salt
Prepare your vegetables by slicing the onions, finely dicing the garlic and red chillies, and slicing the Jalapeños and romano peppers. Optionally, you can char the outside of the romano peppers with a chef's blowtorch to add extra flavour.
Now, place a very large saucepan onto a medium high heat.
Add in the bacon lardons and cook in the pan until it's browned and crispy, and place to one side in a bowl.
In the bacon fat, cook the beef mince, beef steak and short rib in batches - adding some extra oil if necessary - so that everything gets nicely browned all over. Place into a bowl with the bacon to one side once browned.
Add in some extra olive oil to the pan, and cook the onions until softened. Then add in the garlic and red chillies and cook those for a couple of minutes.
Then add in the Jalapeños and Romano Peppers and cook for a minute or so.
Add the browned meats back into the pan and mix with the onions and peppers.
Now add in the all the spices, salt, pepper and brown sugar and mix into the meat, coating everything as best as you can.
Add in the beer, and hot sauce and stir well and bring up to a gentle simmer.
Throw in the cinnamon stick, turn the heat down to low, place the lid on, and leave for a long, slow cook for around 5-6 hours. For the last hour of cooking, remove the lid and let the liquid to simmer down into a lovely sauce.
While your chilli cooks, you can make the cornbread. Pre-heat the oven to about 180°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5.
In a bowl, add in the polenta, plain flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, egg and milk.
Whisk together until you get a smooth batter with no lumps.
Melt 70g butter into an oven-safe pan (I used a cast iron skillet) and pour the batter in.
Place into the oven and cook for 20 - 25 minutes until a lovely golden colour.
Leave to cool slightly before serving with your chilli.