Texas Beef Chili

Most Lone Star chili masters eschew beans and tomatoes. To them, chili is all about the meat and the seasoning. Purists also claim that toppings turn their bowl of red into a salad bar. But you can opt for anything you like, such as sour cream, shredded cheese, red onions–even a handful of tortilla chips for crunch.

Yield: 8 servings


2 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted

1/4 cup pure ancho chile powder

1 tablespoon Spanish smoked paprika

2 teaspoons dried oregano

4 pounds boneless beef chuck roast, cut into 1/2 -inch chunks

Salt and freshly ground pepper

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 large yellow onion, chopped

1 jalapeño chile, seeded and minced

1 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 cups lager beer

1 cup beef broth

2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal

Shredded Cheddar cheese, chopped red onions, sour cream, and minced jalapeño chiles for serving (optional)


1. Using a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder, finely grind the cumin seeds. Transfer to a bowl, add the chile powder, paprika, and oregano, and mix well. Set aside.

2. Season the beef with salt and pepper. In a large, heavy pot, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, sear the beef, turning occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

3. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pot. Add the onion, jalapeño, bell pepper, and garlic and reduce the heat to medium. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens, about 5 minutes. Uncover, add the spice mixture, and stir well for 30 seconds. Stir in the beer and broth. Return the beef to the pot, cover, and reduce the heat to low. Simmer until the beef is fork-tender, 1 1 ⁄ 2 to 2 hours.

4. Remove the chili from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Skim any fat from the surface. Bring the chili to a simmer over medium heat. Transfer about 1 ⁄ 2 cup of the cooking liquid to a small bowl and whisk in the cornmeal. Stir into the chili and cook until lightly thickened, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon the chili into bowls and serve, garnished with cheese, red onions, sour cream, or jalapeños, if you like.