To Bean...or Not to Bean: Wendy's Wow Factor Texas Chili...
I’m a Native Texan…I’ve never lived anywhere else, and I take great pride in being a Texan! I grew up in Alvin, a small town between Houston and Galveston. I lived in Denton (north of Dallas/Ft. Worth) for a few years when I went to college at University of North Texas. Then I moved here to San Antonio to attend law school in 2000. I’ve lived all over this huge state, and one thing’s for certain: Texans LOVE their spicy food...Tex-Mex, Cajun, BBQ, and chili! Heck, we have entire contests devoted to determining whose chili is the The Best! I’ve never taken part in a chili cookoff, but I made some chili last night that’s a winner in my book: full of meat and perfectly seasoned.
There’s a Great Chili Debate when it comes to beans v. no beans in chili. Around these parts, native Texans will tell you that a proper pot of chili has NO BEANS…ever! I’ve never added beans to my chili….to the vast majority of Texans, chili is about the meat and the heat! I decided to make a pot of chili earlier this week. It was a chilly evening, and I was dying to try the Hill Country Chili Powder that’s part of the Wendy’s Wow Factor spice set that I created with Spices, Inc. Wow, this is some FANTASTIC chili powder!! It made a perfect pot of chili. It was plenty spicy, but not TOO hot…with a bit of smoke from some chipotle in the mix. Chili is a great weeknight meal because it’s simple to whip up, inexpensive, and can be on the table in less than an hour.
I admit that I do break from Texas chili tradition a bit, though. I make my chili with a 50/50 mixture of coarse-ground beef and lean ground turkey to save on fat and calories. I also serve my chili with toppings: light sour cream, shredded jack cheese, and sliced green onions. I usually serve hot buttered cornbread with my chili, but I opted for tortilla chips this time -- we like to crush them on top for some crunch! Here’s my recipe for chili. Feel free to add beans if that’s what you’re used to…I won’t hold it against you! Simply add a can of drained beans during the last five minutes of cooking.
Wendy’s Wow Factor Texas Chili
Step 1: Add a drizzle of olive oil to a large Dutch oven. Add half of a diced yellow onion and two finely chopped cloves of garlic – I like to grate it with my microplane. Cook for about five minutes, until the onion is translucent.
Step 2: Add 1 lb. coarse-grind ground beef (sometimes packaged as chili beef) and 1 lb. 93% lean ground turkey. Brown the meat, breaking it up with your spoon along the way. When the meat is browned, drain off any fat. If you use this combo of meat, you shouldn’t have much fat, though.
Step 3: Add 1.5 tsp. salt, 2 tbs. chili powder, an 8-ounce can of tomato sauce, and 2.5 cups water. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to med-low. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
Step 4: Combine 1/3 cup water and 1/4 cup dried masa (corn flour) in a measuring cup. This mixture will be sort of like paste -- not pourable.
Spoon the masa mixture into the chili and stir well to combine. The masa acts as a thickening agent and adds a nice richness to the chili.
Simmer the chili for five more minutes to let the masa do its thing. This is where you’d add beans…if you are so inclined. Ladle the chili into bowls. I serve the toppings in little containers at the table so people can add them to suit their tastes.
This recipe makes about four or five bowls of chili. I had some leftover and used it to make a slammin' batch of chili dogs while we watched the Texans play the Eagles last night! I'm sharing this recipe with my friend Kim for her weekly Saturday Swap on her blog, Quit Eating Out. Go check it out...and maybe share a recipe of your own. You'll find some great new recipes and blogs to visit!!