This is the way we make chili con carne at El Real Tex-Mex Cafe in Houston. Be sure and use the homemade chili powder for a full-flavored chili. Don’t skip the step of dry toasting the cumin seeds—it really improves the flavor. Serve the chili con carne in a bowl with chopped onions and shredded cheese, with saltines, over tamales, rice or potatoes, in a Frito Pie, or combined with beans.–Robb Walsh
LC What Folks Are Saying About This Recipe Note
“Outstanding!” “This chili con carne is not the chili of your childhood.” “This is a sophisticated uptown chili that cannot be beat.””This recipe is the bomb.” “Sorry, Mom.” That’s what folks are saying about this chili con carne recipe.
Chili con Carne
- Quick Glance
- 1 H
- 4 H
- Serves 6
Special Equipment: 5-quart or larger slow cooker (if following the slow cooker method)
- 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
- 8 ounces bacon, chopped
- 3 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
- 2 onions, chopped (2 or more cups)
- 1/4 cup Homemade Chili Powder
- 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 3/4 cups store-bought or homemade beef broth
- 1 cup water
- 1 (28-ounce) can puréed tomatoes
- 2 dried ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
- 1. Toast the cumin seeds in a large skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes. Using a smaller frying pan or a metal or wooden tool with a flat surface, crush the seeds coarsely.
- 2. Cook the bacon in a large pot over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove the bacon and reserve. With the pot still over medium-high heat, cook the beef in the bacon drippings until browned on all sides. It may be necessary to brown the beef in batches. Transfer the meat to the plate with the bacon. Reduce the heat to medium, add the onions, and sauté in the remaining drippings until lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes.
- 3. Add the toasted cumin, chili powder, paprika, oregano, black pepper, thyme, salt, and garlic to the onions and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Crumble the bacon and add it to the pot along with the beef, beef broth, 1 cup water, the tomatoes, and the ancho chiles.
- 4. If making the chili on the stovetop, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover partially, and simmer until the meat is very tender, about 2 hours, adding water as needed to maintain the desired consistency.
If making the chili in a slow cooker, transfer the contents of the skillet to a slow cooker set on low and cook for at least 6 hours and up to 8 hours, until the meat is very tender.
- 5. When the meat is tender, fish around in the chili and find and remove the anchos. Purée them in a blender, return them to the pot, and stir well.
- 6. Ladle the chili con carne into bowls and dive in.