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I never knew what a great dish chili is until I came to Texas, where making chili is both an art and a science. Charlie Hunter taught me to make this terrific chili, however I have somewhat yankified it by adding beans. I like beans. But you should know that in Texas, chili is not supposed to have beans.


1 lb. ground beef
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 green peppers, chopped
1-2 T. olive oil
1-2 hot peppers
¼ cup vinegar
¼ cup chili powder
2 T. cumin
1 t. salt
1 large can whole tomatoes
1 can red kidney beans (plus the liquid)

A word about ingredients. Texans use all kinds of meats, including rattlesnake and other mystery meats. Chili meat is a special grind that works well. I use ground buffalo these days. For the peppers, I use poblano or anaheim as well as bells for the green pepper. For the hot pepper, we usually have tobasco or chili pequin (bird pepper) growing in the yard. Chili should be at least a little hot. I admit that the olive oil is not a very authentic touch. It is just our default cooking oil. I don't think the choice of shortening matters much.

Saute the onions and the meat together. Add the garlic and cook another minute or two. Then add the vinegar and cook for a few more minutes. Enjoy the smell! Add the chili powder, cumin and salt. Stir until well combined and hot. Add the tomatoes and beans, toss in the hot peppers and let the whole thing stew for about an hour, stirring occasionally. Correct the seasoning after about 45 minutes. This concoction will probably require more salt than you think. Be sure that the taste is well out to the tip of your tongue before you get carried away adding more chili powder or cumin.


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