True Texas Chili
2-4 ounces dried, whole New Mexico (California)(5-7 chilies)
2 cups water or chicken broth
1-2 Chipotles in adobo sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin seed
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 tablespoons vegetable oil or bacon fat, divided
2 1/2 pounds boneless beef chuck, well-trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (to yield 2 pounds after trimming)
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon Beef Base
2 cups water, plus more as needed
¼ cup masa (instant corn flour)
1 tablespoon firmly packed dark brown sugar, plus more as needed
1 1/2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar, plus more as needed
1. Place the California chilies in a straight-sided large skillet over medium-low heat and gently toast the chilies until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Don’t let them burn or they’ll turn bitter. Place the chilies in a bowl and cover them with very hot water and soak until soft, 15 to 45 minutes, turning once or twice. (I put a heavy plate on them to keep them from floating.)
2. Drain the chilies, but do not keep water it will be bitter. Split the chilies and remove stems and seeds, rinse to help remove seeds. Place the chilies in the bowl of a blender and add chipotle pepper, cumin, black pepper, and 2 cups water. Purée the mixture, until a smooth, slightly fluid paste forms, you want to eliminate all but the tiniest bits of skin. Put the chili paste into the crock pot.
3. Return skillet to medium-high heat and melt 2 tablespoons of the oil. When it begins to smoke, swirl skillet to coat and add half of the beef. Lightly brown the meat on at least two sides, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to the crock pot and repeat with 2 more tablespoons of oil and the remaining beef.
4. Let the skillet cool slightly, and place it over medium-low heat. Add 1 Tablespoon oil to the skillet; add the onion and garlic and cook gently for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the stock, the remaining 2 cups water and gradually whisk in the masa hernia to avoid lumps. Add to crock pot. Stir in the beef base, brown sugar and vinegar thoroughly. Cook on low for 8 hours or medium for 6 hours or until the meat is tender.
5. At this point, it may look like there is excess sauce. Turn off the heat and let the chili stand for at least 30 minutes, during which time the meat will absorb about half of the remaining sauce in the skillet, leaving the meat bathed in a thick, somewhat fluid sauce. Stir in additional broth or water if the mixture seems too dry. If the mixture seems a bit loose and wet, allow it to simmer a bit more with the lid off. Adjust the balance of flavors with a bit of additional salt, sugar, or vinegar, if you like.
6. Serve in individual bowls with a dollop of sour cream on top and a lime wedge on the side. Serve with flour tortilla cut into wedges.
**Gluten Free as written BUT use GF flour tortillas.