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My first attempt at Texas Chili and some more questions

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My first attempt at Texas Chili and some more questions

Evan | Feb 2, 2006 10:52 AM

This past weekend I made my first try and cooking Texas chili based on some recipes I've seen on this board and culled from other places. I used a mishmash approach and was somewhat pleased at the results, but somewhat disappointed that it didn't quite approach the levels I wanted, but what could you expect your first time. I'd appreciate feedback on my recipe and I have a few questions I'll pose at the end, but first the recipe (or my best approximation of it).

3ish lbs of Chuck steak, cut into about 1in cubes (butcher and supermarket did not have a chuck roast.. more questions on type of meat to use below).
5 dried ancho chiles and 1 dried habanero, reconstitued and skinned/deseeded.
1 TBS Cumin seed
Cayenne Pepper (not sure of quatities)
Chipotle pepper
1 tbs oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
Hot sauce
I think thats it, but I might be missing something.

First I browned the beef in some pork fat. Then I added the chile meat and some of the chile powder. Cooked for a minute then added the water used for reconstituting the chiles and some chicken broth to cover the beef by less than an inch. boiled this and then simmered partially covered for 1 hour. AFter the hour, I added the cumin, some more chile powder, oregano, garlic, hotsauce and brought back to a boil, and simmered for another 2 or so hours. At this point it didn't taste spicy enough or I added some more chile powder and habenero hot sauce and cooked for another 30 minutes. End result was a pretty thin sauce and tender beef, but not really a taste that penetrated through the beef. The next day the flavor penetrated the meat more but was still kind of soupy.

My questions.
1) Since I don't have easy availability to a chuck roast, are there other kinds of roasts I can use, or did I use an appropriate cut of beef, using chuck steaks and cubing as evenly as possible. Ones I've seen availabe include Eye of Round Roast, Bottom Round Roast.
2) Using dried chiles was too much of a pain. I don't have a food mill or a sieve, so separating out the meat was a lot of painful and often impossible work. I think going forward I'd rather used chile powders. I have Chipotle, Cayenne and Aleppo right now, but can easily pick up other pure ground chiles from either Kalustyans (i'm in NYC) or I can order from Penzys. What are the best types to get a full flavored and spicy chile and how much should I use for the 3 lbs of beef.
3) Sauce was a little thin. I've seen adding masa harina or cornmeal but didn't do this. Does adding those things change the taste or texture of the chile or mearly thicken the sauce if used sparingly.
4) Did I miss any ingredients that might help.
5) Should my cubes of beef be smaller?

I think those are my questions. Thanks for your help so far and I hope to keep perfecting my recipe and will post again with any new results.

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