So, my Texan-transplant guilt has finally taken over. I was raised on the West Coast, so my ideal of chili is delicious beaniness, with a bit of heat, some meat and bacon, and peppers. Well, the residents of my adopted home state insist that chili does not have beans. So, in my attempt to make a beef stew that Texans might approve of, I threw this together with some leftover chuck I had hanging out in the freezer, and a decent amount of spice. I loved the addition of the thyme, but I do admit, I overuse the herb simply because it grows so well in my garden.
- 2 lb. chuck roast, cut into 1/2″ pieces
- 1 cup flour
- 1 lb. bacon, chopped
- 1 onion, diced
- good handful of thyme, leaves picked
- 1 – 3 peppers (jalapeno, ancho, serrano) de-veined and deseeded, chopped
- 8-10 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 medium diced tomatoes
- 1 small can tomato paste
- 3 Tbsp chili powder (I used ancho and serrano)
- 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
- 2 Tbsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- sour cream, for garnish
Liberally season the chuck roast with salt and pepper, and dredge the pieces of beef through the flour, shaking the excess off. Set aside.
In a heavy bottomed pan, over medium-high heat, cook the bacon to your liking and remove with a slotted spoon. Reserve the bacon on a paper towel. You should have quite a bit of bacon fat in the bottom of your pot. Remove all but 2 Tbsp, and reserve the rest for another day. In the remaining bacon fat, saute the onion, thyme, and pepper until the veggies are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic to the pan and continue stirring.
Add the chuck to the pan and stir it around to make sure everything is well incorporated. Cook the chuck until all sides of the meat have been browned. Add the tomates, tomato paste, cayenne pepper, paprika, chili powder, salt, pepper, and some water to give the stew a somewhat thinner consistency. I added about 1.5 cups. Add the bacon back into the stew at this point.
Simmer the beef over low heat for 2.5 – 3 hours, until the chuck is tender and nearly falling apart. Add more water if the stew seems to dry out. You want a fairly thick consistency, but you don’t want it to go completely dry. If it starts to look a bit greasy, make sure you skim the top of the stew.
Serve with a dollup of sour cream and with a side of Cottage Cheese Cornbread.