Bowl Of Red Recipe - Classic Chili Recipe

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This recipe and photo are courtesy of Jane Butel and her website Jane Butel Southwest Cooking. The influence behind this chili recipe came from my maternal grandfather, who when working with the Santa Fe Railroad learned how to prepare it from the “cookies,” or trail cooks.  It has won numerous chili cook-offs and is one of the really true original chilis.

Bowl Of Red - Classic Chili

Check out Jane Butel's Science of Chile Peppers. More great Famous and No-So-Famous Chili Recipes.

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Bowl Of Red Recipe - Classic Chili Recipe:

Recipe Type: Beef, Chile Peppers, Soup/Stew, Chili
Yields: serves many
Prep time: 20 min
Chili cook time: 3 hr


2 tablespoons shortening, preferably solid shortening such as lard or butter
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
3 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 medium-size garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 cup ground hot chile peppers or to taste
1/4 cup ground mild chile peppers
1 tablespoon ground cumin
About 3 cups water
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
Fixin's 'n Mixins Garnishes (see below)


Heat shortening, lard or butter in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened; remove from heat.

Add beef cubes, garlic, ground chile peppers (hot and mild), and cumin to pot. Break up any lumps. Stir in the water and salt and return to heat. Bring just to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 2-1/2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally, until the meat is very tender and the flavors are well blended. Add more water if necessary. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Serve with fixin’s ‘n mixins’ of coarsely grated cheeses, pickled jalapenos, chopped onion and sour cream with lime wedges garnished with a “ruffle” of red chile.

Fixin's 'n Mixins Garnishes:

Coarsely grated cheese of your choice
Pickled jalapeno chile peppers
Chopped Onions
Sour Cream
Lime Wedges
Red Chile Powder


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