(Not Wick Fowler’s) Chili

Brrr! It’s going to get cold this weekend. Time to make some chili!

Chili is one of those dishes that everyone makes, but no one makes the same. Meat, no meat; beans, no beans; pork vs beef; tomatoes, no tomatoes. You name it and someone makes chili with it. chiliI don’t want to get into any range wars over ingredients, because I like chili most any way you can make it.

I used to make chili using the Wick Fowler kits that have the spices in little packets. It made good chili, too, although I always added a bit of sugar to the mix to cut some of the acid from the tomatoes and a little more cayenne pepper to spice it up. Wick Fowler was a Texas newspaperman who created the eponymous grocery store kits and won the Terlingua International Chili Championship in 1970.

But one day, I got a wild hair and decided to measure all those spices to see exactly what was going in my chili. I wrote everything down carefully and then bought all the spices I needed at the grocery store. Turns out, the chili I made myself tasted exactly like what I made with the kits. And because I now knew the spices that went into the chili, I could start tweaking them to suit my whims.

I changed the paprika to smoked paprika and added some smoked chipotle powder. The smokey elements elevated the flavor by a magnitude. The last time I made chili, I used some beef sausage from Wright Longhorn Beef that we didn’t get around to grilling last summer. The sausage was seasoned with a little allspice, which gave the chili a delicious warm-spice flavor.

(If you haven’t eaten Longhorn beef, you should give it a try. It’s leaner than other types of beef, and it has a really deep beefy flavor. You can pick up some Longhorn from Wright Longhorn Beef at the Barton Creek Farmers Market.)

2 lbs. ground meat
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
olive oil
5 tbsp ground chili
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp smoked chipotle powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional; add more if you like really spicy chili)
1/4 cup sugar (optional)
2 15 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 can black beans or kidney beans (optional)

Brown meat, onions, and garlic in a little olive oil. Add remaining ingredients and simmer on low.

Crock-pot Chili
Combine all ingredients in a crock-pot and let it cook on low all day. You don’t even have to brown the meat first.

One thought on “(Not Wick Fowler’s) Chili

  1. Susan L. Fellers

    January 12, 2014 at 3:37pm

    Hi Margaret, Luv your site. I made your chili for company today. It turned out great. I think it was the best chili I have every made. No Kidding! Thanks for the recipe. Love & miss you, Your Aunt Susan 🙂

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