One of our very favorite things to make when Jeff is traveling is our Texas Chili. It’s great when it’s cold and gray outside, but the kids and I have been known to make it even in warmer weather because we love it that much. I know, I’m surprised that they like it too, especially since they are SUCH picky eaters… but we started out by telling them that it was “chili salsa” and it was for you to dip your fritos in. (I really feel like I need to insert all of the laughing-till-you-cry emojis right here.) So, what is Texas Chili? How is it different than regular chili? Oh, sweet friend. The saying is true - everything is bigger and better in Texas, y’all. Including the chili. Why muddle up all of that beautiful beef and sausage with BEANS???? Traditional “Texas Chili” does not include those mushy beans!! And once you try it, you'll never want beans in your chili again! It’s best served with crushed regular fritos on top, a little sharp cheddar and some cilantro…. and then the big fritos scoops on the side. Just sayin’. But you can eat it without all the carbs if you want… but why would you do that to yourself??
Little Branches Texas Chili 4 strips of bacon, diced 2 lbs ground beef 1 lb spicy Jimmy Dean sausage 1 large yellow onion, finely diced 4 cloves minced garlic 2 28 oz cans diced tomatoes, with juice 1 can Rotel 1 6 oz can tomato paste 4 cubes beef bouillon 1/4 cup chili powder 3 tbs Worcestershire sauce 1 tbs oregano 2 tbs cumin 2 tbs ancho chili pepper 1 tbs salt 1 tbs pepper 1 tbs paprika 1 tsp cayenne 1/3 cup BBQ sauce (secret ingredient) 1 12 ounce can beer Heat large dutch oven (or stock pot) over medium heat. I like to lightly spray mine with cooking spray before I get started, but that's up to you - and your pot. Throw in the bacon and crisp it up a bit until it's nicely brown. Remove with a slotted spoon. Brown ground beef and sausage. The last few minutes - when it's just barely still pink - throw in the garlic and onion so they can brown up, get super yummy smelling and marry all the flavors together right quick. Drain it all off. Return beef, sausage, onions, garlic and bacon to the pot over medium heat. Add the rest of the ingredients. Give a good, healthy stir. Bring the mixture to a light boil then turn to low and simmer for 2-3 hours. Or all day. Whatever. Just let those flavors get all good and comfortable together. You will need to adjust seasonings according to your likening throughout cooking. I almost always go back and add more cayenne, pepper and salt. But you once it gets too spicy or too salty then you're up a creek without a paddle, so I tend to start with a less is more attitude until I get further down in cooking. Serve it up with fritos, sour cream, bacon crumbles, cheddar cheese, guac, avocado.... I mean, the toppings are endless! More is more, baby. Enjoy!