Texas Chilli

Bowl of Red - the classic Texas Chili.

Meat and chillies - that's all that goes into a classic Texas Chili, and they'll run you out of town tarred and feathered if you even think of dropping some beans into it!

Checking out a few award-winning recipes, I found that tomato was often included, garlic, too and even herbs. I put together a hybrid from a number of recipes to make up my own Bowl of Red ...

Slip on some rubber gloves - we've got chillies to chop!

In a large sauté pan, get some minced beef browning off.

Meanwhile, soften up some chopped onions in a pan with some fat - I used pork fat, recovered from a belly pork roast. Bacon grease, lard, tallow or shortening will do. Something fatty, anyway.

Put the softened onions into a receptacle to be blended, along with a sliced clove of garlic and a little root ginger for a fiery hit! Blend to a paste. You could add in a couple of chillies here, too.

Add a can of peeled plum tomatoes and a squirt of tomato purée into the receptacle and give it a quick pulse to break down the tomatoes.

Pour over the now browned meat.

The purée will appear quite light, but it will darken with cooking. The purpose of blending the onion is to make the most of the minced meat without much interference from other textures. I'd seen onion powder used a lot in the award-winning recipes, but didn't have any ...

Add in some beef stock and some chicken stock. The combination of stocks gives a depth and a lightness! About a pint in total.

Now for the chillies!

We've already got a fiery note from the ginger and garlic. Time for a wall of fire! I used the naga jolokia chilli (also known as the ghost chilli). Weighing in at one million Scovilles, this is a HOT chilli and must be handled with care. Gloves on and wash the knife afterwards. I used just one centimetre of the chilli and believe me ... this is HOT!

Next, some chipotle for that smoky depth. I used Smokey Tabasco.

Next, some jalapeño for the crispness. Finely chop these with the seeds removed.

Sprinkle some cayenne pepper and paprika over to complete the wall of chilli!

Sprinkle over some oregano and grind in some freshly milled black pepper and a little celery salt to taste.

Finally, add in a good block of chocolate - make it as dark as you have. This will give an enigmatic back-flavour which enhances the whole dish.

Set to simmer for a couple of hours.

Serve out however it is you like your chilli ...

I put mine into a bowl and covered with cheese, placed alongside some tomato, cucumber and pickled chillis, some sliced avocado and a few British cos lettuce leaves to make up wraps. Greek yoghurt alongside is very welcome! Slug down a few tequilas, bite on some lime and have a blast!