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Rancho Gordo Chili con Carne


Among chili aficionados, your answer to the question of "beans or no beans" can earn you disdain or respect. I love beans in my chili but I also dislike that thick, stodgy mess made from mostly beans that is called "chili con carne" on the labels of cans and in certain regions of our fair country. The star should be the chiles, either from pods or ground to a powder. Even the meat (in this case some delicious chuck roast I got from Doug Stonebreaker of Prather Ranch Meat Co.) takes a back seat, as do the wonderful Good Mother Stallard beans.


A note on spelling: The pods are called chiles. The dish is called Chili. When you see Chile Powder, you should expect it to be 100% ground chiles. If you are buying Chili Powder, there's a better than good chance there will be spices and herbs added. Rancho Gordo Chili con Carne ¼ cup olive oil 2-3 pounds chuck roast, cut into ½ to 1 inch cubes 2 white onions, chopped 4-6 cloves garlic 1 tablespoon Rancho Gordo Mexican Oregano ½ cup Rancho Gordo New Mexican Red Chile Powder 1 teaspoon cumin, ground salt 3 cups water 1 bottle Negra Modelo (or other dark beer) 1 cup Rancho Gordo Good Mother Stallard beans, cooked and drained 1 tablespoon of Masa Harina (optional) In a stock pot, heat the oil and brown the meat pieces. Remove as they brown. When all the pieces are browned and seared, lower the heat and sauté the onions and garlic until soft. Then add the oregano, chile powder, cumin and salt. Fry the spices for a few minutes and then slowly add the water and then the beer. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Add the meat back to the pot and allow to simmer gently for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Add the beans. Cook for another 10 minutes or so. The texture should be somewhat soupy but if the liquid is too thin, dissolve the masa harina in about ½ a cup of water. Stir well to avoid any lumps. Slowly trickle the liquid into the chili. Cook on low for another 15 minutes or so. This step adds a nice "nixtamal" flavor and you can choose to do it even if you like the texture, noting that it will dilute the chile flavor somewhat. Ladle out hot with garnishes of raw chopped onion, chopped cilantro, chile powder, etc., Serve with hot flour tortillas, buttermilk biscuits or your favorite cornbread.

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