Tis Pity He's a Writer

Richard Daybell – Novels, stories and short humor

We Went to Texas and Saw the Light

Last spring, we visited Texas, and we’ve seen the light.  No, we haven’t started toting firearms.  We aren’t questioning evolution or global climate change.  And I’m certainly not wearing a ten-gallon hat or quoting W.  Nope.

It’s all about chili and a place called Terlingua.  Terlingua is kind of a ghost town with a population of a couple of hundred (not including  Gila monsters).  But since 1967, they’ve been holding a major chili competition there.  I don’t know why there are so many chili competitions.  Sure chili is a great comfort food, but so is pot roast, and I’ve not heard of a single pot roast competition.  Anyway, it’s a big deal with thousands of chili aficionados attending (toting firearms, I imagine).

While in Texas, we ran into this little book filled with some thirty years of chili championship recipes.  Here’s the revelation:  I had always considered chili to be a beef and bean concoction.  Not in Texas.  No beans.  In fact, they’re not allowed in the competition.  Onions, tomatoes, peppers, yes.  Other kinds of meats, yes.  Beans, no.  In Texas, beans are a side dish.

I tried the Texas way, and I’ve become a believer.  I’ve tried a few recipes from that little book – added, subtracted, and combined to come up with my own liberal Vermont Texas chili.  I include the recipe for anyone who’s interested.  Terlingua, here I come.


Liberal Vermont Texas Chili

2 lbs. beef chuck, cut into 1/4” dice

1/2 lb. Ground beef

1/2 lb. Chourico or Chorizo

1 large onion, diced

1 small celery stalk, diced

2 cups chicken broth

1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes

1 14 oz. can tomato sauce

1 cup beef broth

1 small can chilies

6-7 T chili powder

1-2 T ground cumin

1 T oregano

1 t garlic powder

1 t onion powder

1 t brown sugar

Hot sauce (Frank’s Louisiana or Tabasco) to taste

Masa harina (optional)

Brown meats in a heavy pot.  Add onions, celery and sauté briefly.  Add broth, tomatoes, tomato sauce.  Simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  Add beef broth, chilies, 6 T chili powder, 1 T cumin, oregano, garlic and onion powder, sugar.   Cook for another 1/2 hour.  Taste and add remaining chili powder and cumin, if desired.  Add hot sauce to desired heat level.  Cook for another 1/2 hour.  Thicken with masa harina, if necessary.  Serve with beans, chopped onions and grated cheddar cheese on the side.


One comment on “We Went to Texas and Saw the Light

  1. Beth Crane
    August 29, 2011

    Excellent post; excellent chili! What will you bring back from Alaska?


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This entry was posted on July 31, 2011 by in Life Is (Fill in Blank) and tagged , , .

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