All You Need in Life Is Chili
(This Week in Blackness) — Our special This Tastes Funny guest and blogger this week, Matt Timms, the magical host and creator of the Takedowns , is serious as a heart attack about his chili. If you tried to take a steaming, fresh bowl away from him, he’d probably bite your arm off. So why don’t you just make your own, using Matt’s favorite recipe? —EEW
I was talking on the podcast about chili, which is the only important thing in this shitty life. Chili is so essential because it can be all the food groups and super healthy, or only a couple of food groups, and destroy you. It doesn’t matter which way you go; chili is still the finest thing you can ever eat, even if you cook it wrong. I’ve never had a shitty bowl of chili, and I’ve had PLENTY of shitty bowls of chili.
The thing I like best about chili is the fact you can fuck with it so much; no matter what, it stays beautiful. People have all sorts of rotten things they like to stick in this classic meat puddin’: whiskey, chocolate, vegan meats . . . the list goes on and on into INFINITY! But chili can weather any storm, and invent itself over and over again, so it isn’t a stretch when people say they have their own secret recipe. You may be like “yeah RIGHT!” But even if this dish was invented by the humble Neanderthal man, it’s still possible to make a new type of yum to make your friends happy.
But then the Texans came along. They’re like Harvard grads: you’re going to know about it. Texans are a hideous group of people who insist that more is more, they are awesome, and you are wrong. Fuck that! They consider their chili the original and finest thing—the Texas Bowl of Red. All it is is meat, lard, pepper, and cumin, and shucks, I can’t lie—it is good. It’s simple and pretty close to perfect. No beans and no tomatoes, like any good Texan will tell you. But so what? Are you going to go out and join the Republican Party now? Fuck you!
I have here my interpretation of that original bowl, in a recipe you can make yourself. I messed with it a tiny bit only so I could take it away and call it:
Cowboy Matt’s Bowl of Massachusetts Red (Oh, face! Awesome! I’m from Massachusetts!)
2 tablespoons butter
1 red onion, chopped
3 lbs. sirloin tips ½ inch cubes
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
3 dried New Mexico chili, hydrated
3 dried Guajillo chili, hydrated (If your supermarket doesn’t carry varieties of dried chiles, hopefully you’ve got a Mexican market close by, or look online!)
1 tablespoon cumin
2 cups beef stock
1 cup red wine
salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat a crock pot, and throw in the butter.
2. Dice the onion small, throw it in, let it sweat for 5 minutes, and then throw in the cracked, crushed or diced garlic, letting that go for another 2 minutes. Brown the meat in that and toss with the cumin.
3. Hydrate the chilies in 2 cups of boiled water for 20–30 minutes. Remove from water and take ½ cup of beef stock, some of the wine, and whip it up to a gravy in a food processor. (Keep the seeds in if you like it hotter, like I do.)
4. Toss that gravy concoction into the pot with all the liquid ingredients, and salt to your liking. Let all that simmer covered for 2 ½ hours or longer or shorter if it needs it. Remove the lid around the 2 hour mark always checking to see if the liquid is reduced to a thick gravy.
5. Let it sit for about 30 minutes, and then serve alone or over rice. I forget if a Texan will lay an egg about the rice thing, but probably.
Also, how good is chili with a butt load of cheese, all melting on top?! The answer is SO GOOD.