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Pecos River Bowl of Red

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Jane Butel's best-selling cookbook, Chili Madness wraps up the updated Jane Butel library this fall! Check out the recipe for Pecos River Bowl of Red - Jane's personal favorite...


Pecos River Bowl of Red

(Serves 8)

Pecos River is the name of my spice company and was originally the name of the ranch I owned in New Mexico. I learned my love of chili from my maternal grandfather, who was an executive with the Santa Fe Railroad in the late 1800s. He was charged with giving back surplus land the railroad had claimed for laying tracks, and he clarified land titles from Kansas to New Mexico. My grandfather developed this recipe after spending five years sampling chilies from “cookies,” the workers who cooked for the cowboys herding cattle to the railhead.

2 tablespoons lard, butter, or bacon drippings
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
3 pounds boneless chuck roast or 80% lean beef, cut into ½-inch cubes
3 medium-size cloves garlic, finely chopped
¼ cup pure ground hot red chile, plus more to taste
¼ cup pure ground mild red chile, plus more to taste
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1½ teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
Fixin’s and Mixin’s (below), for serving

1.    Melt the lard in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until it is translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat.
2.    In a large bowl, mix the meat with the garlic, ground chiles, about half of the cumin, and the salt. Transfer the meat mixture to the pot and immediately add 3 cups water. Stir to combine.
3.    Return the pot to the stove, place it over high heat, and bring the meat mixture to a boil. Then lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the meat is very tender and the flavors are well blended, 2½ to 3 hours.
4.    Taste the chili and determine the need for more salt and more chile. Stir in the remaining cumin, and serve with Fixin’s and Mixin’s alongside.

The next time you serve chili, try setting out small bowls of these:
•    Finely chopped onion
•    Sliced pickled jalapeños
•    Coarsely grated Cheddar cheese, or mixed grated Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses
•    Sour cream or Flavored Cremas 
•    Lime wedges lightly dusted with pure ground hot or mild red chile
•    Pequin quebrado