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“Bowl of Red” Chili



Makes about eight one-cup servings. I was tempted to give instructions for making the sauce with dried peppers, but chili powder is easier, quicker, and tastes just fine.


  • About 4 lbs. boneless beef chuck, trimmed and cut into ½-inch cubes. • Trim off the membranes and connective tissue.

If it is tough to cut, remove it – keep the tender meat.

  • 2 Tbsp. cooking oil for browning the meat –

add more if the meat sticks to the pan

  • 1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 3 Tbsp. masa harina (corn tortilla flour) – for thickening –

cornmeal will work but the flavor will be a little different

  • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic (6 cloves minced fresh garlic)
  • 1 Tbsp. comino (cumin) seed (you can substitute 2 tsp. ground cumin)
  • 2 tsp. Mexican oregano
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 – 14-ounce can beef broth
  • 1¼ cups water – may need to add more to keep meat nearly covered
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar


Cooking instructions:

Add oil to a Dutch oven or heavy kettle and brown (not gray or tan) the beef in several batches, sprinkling with salt and fresh ground black pepper. Add oil, if needed. Remove beef when browned.

Put the chopped onion and garlic in the Dutch oven with a few ounces of the beef broth and cook over medium heat until onions are tender. Stir in chili powder, cornmeal, garlic, cumin, oregano, and cayenne pepper, and cook a minute or two.

Stir in the browned beef, the remaining beef broth, the water, brown sugar, and ½ teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a slow simmer. Simmer covered for 1 ½ to 2 hours or until meat is tender.

To serve, try topping your ‘Bowl of Red’ with sour cream, shredded cheese, corn chips, or you own favorite topping.

Randy Hoelscher is a transplanted Texan and half-time RGV resident. A long-time cooking enthusiast, he enjoys being “The Border Cook,” spreading the work about Mexican and Tex-Mex Cuisine on his web site – TheBorderCook.com – as well as on social media.
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