Friday, August 24, 2012

Bowl o' Red

Pecos River is the name of my spice company and was oringinally the name of the ranch I owned in New Mexico--formerly deeded by the King of Spain.  I learned my love of chili from my maternal grandfather, who was an executive with the Santa Fe Railroad in the late 1800's and early 1900's.  He was in charge of the tracks, both giving back surplus land, earlier claimed and determining the direction of expansion.  My grandfather developed this recipe after spending five years sampling chilis from the "cookies" who cooked for the cowboyts herding cattle to the various rail heads. 


The influence behind this 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.

2 Tablespoons lard, butter, bacon drippings, or rendered beef fat
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
3 pounds lean beef, cut into ½-inch cubes
3 medium-size garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 cup ground hot chile or to taste
1/4 cup ground mild chile
1 Tablespoon ground cumin, divided
About 3 cups water
1-1/2 teaspoons salt, or to taste*
1. Heat lard in a large heavy pot over medium heat.  Add onion and cook until softened.  Remove from heat.

2. Add meat, garlic, ground chiles and half the cumin to the pot.  Break up any lumps.  Stir in the water and salt.  Return to heat.  Bring 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, adding the rest of the cumin and determining the need for salt.

*Many times little or no salt will be needed.  If salt sensitive, wait to add salt until just before tasting

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