Steak Chili

My family loves chili.  Spicy and smoky and rich tomatoey chili.  Rob and the kids dont like beans but I do so I always scoop out some and add some beans to mine.  I know that alot of chilis are made with ground beef, or chicken or whatever but my favorite way and my familys favorite is with steak.  One of the things that is great about this recipe is that you can take a relatively tough and inexpensive cut of beef and make it tender and good.  

Picking the meat is important.  Some people think you need to get a tender piece of meat to do something like this but you dont.   The secret is braising.  Braising is the method of browning the meat and then using moist heat to break down the tough collagen and fibers in the meat.  If done right you can take that tough piece of meat and make it into something soft and fork tender!  I will use what is on sale; stew beef, chuck steak, 7 bone steak, hell even a roast will work.  You do need to have some marbling in the meat.  This will help with your tenderness factor and give a nice richness without adding a ton of fat.  That is another advantage of using steak and not hamburger, there is less fat so it is better for you! 

3 lbs of steak or a roast, cut into cubes cut slightly larger than bite size
3 cans of tomatoes with diced jalapenos
1 large onion
3-4 cloves of garlic chopped
2 jalapenos
1 small can tomato paste
3-4 tbsp chili powder (to taste.. this is medium for us)
1 1/2 tbsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1/3 tsp red pepper flakes
1 can of kidney or black beans drained (optional)

First cut up your beef.
Then ask your son to prepare the jalapeno, onion and garlic…… this is the mess he makes.
After said child cleans up his mess and brings the dregs out to the composter, you grind up the veggies with a mini processor.

and brown the meat in a large dutch oven. 
Add the veggies.
And saute for 2-3 minutes and then cover with 3-4 cups of water (or stock if you have it but it isnt necessary). 
This part is not exact.  It depends on the cut of meat.  Some need more fluid than others to get tender.  Bring to a rapid boil and let it go until the water is almost gone. Test a piece of meat.. is it as tender as you want?  If not add some more fluid and let it go again. I usually only add a cup of water at a time at this stage.

Add your  spices.  

And your tomatoes and paste.  If you are adding the beans you can do it now as well.

Simmer until the flavors combine and it is to the desired thickness.  This is when I scoop some out into a small sauce pan and add some beans for my own personal chili! 

Millie wants her own personal chili too……. 

We were so excited to eat it, I forgot to take a picture of it all prettied up.  This is my cup with some cheese on it.. lol 
It is fun to personalize, you can add a dollop of sour cream, some minced onion or just eat it plain.. whatever works for you.   From start to finish this recipe takes about 1 hour to make depending on the cut of meat.  So good and so filling! 

Happy Braising!


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