Why is chili such a comfort food for me? I didn’t really grow up eating it, but I love it. There are all styles to choose from including with beans (don’t come at me Texas friends!). I love Chicken Chili, Three-Bean Chili, Silver Palates Chili for a Crowd and my latest obsession, Double Beef Texas Style Chili.
Last year, Scot and I spent Thanksgiving in Santa Fe. It is a long drive for one day so we stopped for the night and spent it in Lubbock, TX. We stayed at the Cotton Court Hotel (great place to stay if you are ever in Lubbock) and went for dinner at a restaurant I will not name. It was awful. I hardly ate my salad and we left before the entrees could be served. We left hungry. Fast food is not really our jam so we decided to head back to the hotel and check out the restaurant there called The Midnight Shift.
We sat at the bar and I saw they had chili on special so I decided to grab a cup and then another. What was this magnificent blend of spices and meat? This sent me down a path of research the whole ride home the next day. It was mission to break this code.
After many tries to capture the essence that was that chili, I think this Texas transplant has gotten close as I can get without knocking down their door and asking for recipe.
A good type of “stew” takes time. Anything that is rushed when it is supposed to cook low and slow ends up not being as good as you want it to be. Take the time. This chili is one that you plan for and is even better the next day. Chili powder from a bottle? Nope. You roast dried chilis then rehydrate them. Then you blend them with water to make your chili base. (Side note, if you grocery store doesn’t carry the dried peppers they are available on Amazon here). Slow cook short ribs, pulling the meat apart in the chili base. You brown and season ground beef and add it to the pot. There is beer involved.
Then you pull out all of the accoutrements like sour cream, sliced or pickled jalapenos, cilantro if you must, shredded cheese and of course there are scallions to rain upon your bowl of deliciousness. Put your faith in me friend and try it this way. Trust me. You will be happy you did.
Toast the prepared dried chilis in a dry pan over medium heat until you can smell them, about 2 minutes. Place in a bowl and cover with 2 cups of boiling water. Let sit for 20-25 minutes until soft. Put into a blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.
Season the short ribs with salt and pepper. Put the oil into a large dutch oven. Sear the meat on all sides in batches. Remove when it is browned and repeat until all of the meat is cooked.
Add more oil if needed. Add the chopped onion. Saute until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the cumin, paprika, oregano and chili powder and toast the spices until fragrant. Add the tomato paste, the chili base and the meat. Add the beer and beef stock and bring to a boil. Cook for 2 hours.
Prior to the 2 hours being up, saute the ground beef. Season with salt and pepper. Add to the stew and cook for one more hour.
Shred the short ribs. If you need to remove from the pan to do so, not a problem. If there is a lot of grease, you can cool for a bit and remove as it separates. (This will depend on the type of short ribs you cook). Take one cup of broth out of the pan and add 1/4 masa and whisk until smooth. Add back into the pan and stir.
Serve with all of the chili things. Tortilla chips, hot sauce, shredded cheese, cilantro, sour cream, sliced scallions and jalapenos.