True Texas Chile


2 ounces Dried Whole New Mexico Chile
1/2 tsp freshly Gound Black Pepper
Kosher Salt
5 Tbsp lard, vegetable oil, or rendered beef suet
2-1/2 lb boneless beef chuck, well trimmed and cut into 3/4-inch cubes (to yield 2 pounds after trimming)
1/3 Cup finely chopped onion
3 large cloves garlic, minced
2 Cups beef stock , or canned low-sodium beef broth, plus more as needed
2 Tbsp masa harina (corn tortilla flour)
1 Tbsp firmly packed dark brown sugar, plus more as needed
1 1/2 Tbsp White Traditional Balsamic Vinegar, plus more as needed

sour cream
lime wedges


Place the chiles in a straight-sided large skillet or dutch oven over medium-low heat, and gently toast the chiles until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Don’t let them burn or they’ll turn bitter.

Place the chiles in a bowl and cover them with very hot water and soak until soft, 15 to 45 minutes, turning once or twice.  Drain the chiles; split them and remove stems and seeds (a brief rinse helps remove seeds, but be careful to not wash away the flesh).

Place the chiles in the blender along with the cumin, black pepper, 1 Tbsp salt and 1/4 cup water. Purée the mixture, adding more water as needed (and occasionally scraping down the sides of the blender jar), until a smooth, slightly fluid paste forms (you want to eliminate all but the tiniest bits of skin.) Set the chile paste aside.

Return skillet to medium-high heat and melt 2 tablespoons of the lard, suet or vegetable oil. When it begins to smoke, swirl skillet to coat with fat, and add half of the beef. Lightly brown beef on at least two sides, about 3 minutes per side, reducing the heat if the meat begins to over-brown or burn. Transfer meat to a bowl and repeat with 2 more tablespoons of lard (or other fat) and the remaining beef. Reserve.

Cooling the skillet slightly, and place it over medium-low heat. Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of lard in the skillet; add onion and garlic and saute for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the stock and remaining 2 cups water.

Gradually whisk in the masa harina, being careful to avoid lumps. Stir in the homemade chile paste, scraping the bottom of the skillet with a spatula to loosen any browned bits.

Add the reserved beef (and any juices in the bowl) and bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce heat to maintain the barest possible simmer (just a few bubbles breaking the surface) and cook, stirring occasionally, about 2 hours.

Add the brown sugar and vinegar to the beef stew, and add more salt to taste if needed; gently simmer 10 minutes more

(At this point, it may look like there is excess liquid. Remove the pan from the burner, and let the chili stand for at least 30 minutes. The meat will absorb much of the remaining broth/sauce in the skillet, and the meat will be coated in a thick, somewhat fluid sauce. If the mixture seems too dry, add more broth or water. If the mixture seems a too liquid, allow it to cook awhile longer.  Adjust the balance of flavors with a additional salt, sugar, or vinegar, if needed.)

Reheat chili serve topped with sour cream and a lime wedge.