Ok, so there is a HUGE debate here in Texas and has been for many, many, many years and will probably always be a debate. Chili with beans or Chili without beans. For me and my family, we take our Chili with No Beans. To have beans in our chili is a no no. My husband and I have tried different variations of chili recipes over the years and nothing has been the perfect recipe…until NOW!!
We found the best Texas Style-Chili recipe EVER! While watching a show called The Daytripper, the host visited a restaurant in Grapvine, TX called Tolbert’s Restaurant. The host had a bowl of chili called The Orignal Texas Red that looked so good. I decided to try and make the same chili. I found Frank Tolbert’s recipe here and gave it a try. Y’all the chili came out AMAZING! Now, I have never had the original but after following the recipe fairly closely I hope I did it justice.
My version differs only a bit from the original recipe and I’ll share how I made mine –
3 lbs stew meat
1/4 cup Vegetable Oil
1/2 Onion finely chopped
3 Jalapeno peppers finely chopped
5 cloves of garlic finely chopped
6 Ancho Chili pepper pods
1 Tablespoon of Chili Powder
1 Teaspoon of Salt
1 Teaspoon of Black Pepper
1 Teaspoon Cayanne Pepper
1 Teaspoon of Tabasco Sauce
1/2 Teaspoon of ground Oregano
1 Teaspoon of ground Cumin
1-2 Tablespoons of Cornstarch
Cooking Instructions –
I started by cutting the stew meat into smaller cubes. While I was doing this I put the Ancho Chili’s in a large sauce pan with enough water to cover them and boiled them for about 15 minutes. The original recipe says to boil them for about 5 minutes but I did it a bit longer to make it easier to peel the outside layer of the chili off. After the chili’s were done boiling I let them rest for about 5 minutes to make it easier to handle them.
In the meantime I got a large pot and poured 1/4 cup of Vegetable oil in and let that heat up which doesn’t take long. I then added all the meat to the pot. Let the meat brown, it will release it’s own juices but that’s good. That’s just more flavor for the chili. Once the meat is almost half way cooked, I added the onions and jalapenos and cooked the rest of the way on low heat stirring occasionally.
Back to the Ancho chili’s, while your meat is cooking, start peeling and removing the seeds & stems from the chili’s. This is a pretty messy and tedious task but you don’t want the peel or the seeds in the chili. Once this is done I cut them into pieces which isn’t hard to do since they are really soft.
The water that you boiled the chili’s in.. KEEP IT! Once the meat is browned add the cut up chili’s to the meat and add all the water from the boiled chili’s to the meat. Cover and cook over low heat for about 30 minutes. While the meat is cooking and becoming a pot of yumminess, it’s time to get your spices ready. I usually measure everything and pour it into a small bowl. I hate to have all the spice bottles out on the counter. At the 30 minute mark, add in all the spices, garlic & Tabasco. Do not add the Corn Starch. That comes at the very end. Continue to cook for an additional 45-50 minutes stirring occasionally.
Ok, remember the vegetable oil we used to cook all the meat, yeah that will float to the top of the chili. You can try to skim it off but what I did was place two slices of bread on top of the chili to soak up all the grease. It sounds funny but it works. It gets most of the grease out. It only takes a few seconds for this to happen then you can discard the bread.
At the 45-50 minute mark, mix the 2 tablespoons of corn starch with enough water to dissolve it, usually about 1/4 cup of water. This will thicken up the chili. The original recipe calls for Masa Harina but I prefer to use corn starch as a thickening agent but you can use either one. Pour this into the chili and stir around. Let the chili cook for about 5 more minutes and then you are good to go!
Being from South Texas, I serve my chili over white rice sometimes and I did that last night. I also topped our chili off with Mild Chedder Chesse and finely diced onions and served crackers with it as well.
I really hope that I get a chance to visit Tolbert’s Restaurant one day to taste the Original Bowl of Red but until then I will enjoy my copycat version. Hope you all enjoy both my version of Texas Chili as well as the original recipe! Remember you can always adjust the spices to meet your own flavor preference.
Happy Eating Y’all!