I love chili and have stirred more than a few gallons of it. The family recipe was typically ground beef served Cincinnati-style over spaghetti with Delta tamales. Then there was white bean chili with chicken created by my friend at Southern Living magazine. These days the Drapers’ chili of choice starts with a beef chuck roast. It’s based on a recipe sampled during a recipe testing project. I shared it with my brother who added a dash of this and that and it morphed into Tony’s Prize-Winning Chili!
This bowl of red is an excellent pick for entertaining—you can ladle it into a slow-cooker or warmer and create a chili bar. Surround it with complementary foods such as spaghetti, rice, or tamales. Add assorted go-alongs —chopped cilantro, onion, cheese, sour cream, guacamole or avocado chunks. Cook it up, set it out, and let the fans at your place rely on self-service and they won’t miss a play.
Tony’s Prize-Winning Chili
3 ½ lbs. boneless beef chuck roast
3-4 Tablespoons cooking oil, divided
½ cup chili powder*
3 cups chopped onions (approx.3 medium onions)
2 tablespoons minced garlic (approx. 4 cloves)
2 28-oz. cans peeled whole tomatoes
1 4-oz. can jalapenos, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cumin
3 bay leaves
2 15-1/2 oz. cans red kidney beans
1 tablespoon cornmeal (white or yellow)
Spaghetti, Rice, Tamales
Toppings: Shredded cheddar, Chihuahua cheese, red onions, chopped cilantro, guacamole, chopped avocado, sour cream, jalapeno chilé slices, olives, sour cream, tortilla chips
Trim fat and cut roast into 3/4-inch cubes. In 8-quart Dutch oven with 2 tablespoons oil, brown meat in ½ pound batches over medium heat, adding 1 tablespoon oil if needed. Remove meat. In 2-gallon zip-top plastic bag or large bowl combine browned meat and chili powder mixing until meat is well coated.
Sauté onions, garlic and peppers in remaining oil over medium heat until onions are lightly browned. Add tomatoes and meat mixture. Cook uncovered over medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in brown sugar, vinegar, remaining seasonings and kidney beans.
Reduce heat to low; cover and cook for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. After 2 hours, stir in cornmeal. Serve over spaghetti, rice or tamales with toppings, if desired. YIELD: Approximately 5 quarts, 12 to 16 servings.
*Note: If desired you may substitute hot chili powder.
To Make Ahead: Prepare chili as directed. Remove from heat. To cool quickly, ladle prepared chili into shallow baking dish or casserole. When cooled, cover and place in refrigerator or freezer. Freeze 2 to 4 months; thaw in refrigerator.