By STEVE SOUTHWELL & CHRISTINA ULSH
In recognition of our red majority, we bring you Steve’s Texas Red, a hearty chili that will comfort the downtrodden as well as satisfy the exultant. But this is a two-party system, so we’re also giving you a cornbread recipe.

Some Texans will look at you crossways if you dare use beans in your recipe, but beans can be an economic way to extend the chili and lower the fat content all while providing fiber.

With the chili, don’t obsess over precise measurements. Make it to taste. With the cornbread, baking is a delicate process, thus follow the procedure as closely as possible.

Watch out for heavy handed chili powder use or run the risk of incinerating your children’s fresh tongues. Chili powder varies in hotness.

Grab some from Indopak if you’re looking for an extreme level of hot. Some store-brand chili powders are fairly tame.

The full flavor of the chili really develops over time, either as you simmer it or while it’s in the fridge. When in doubt, go easy on the chili powder, since it will heat up on its own.

You can always add more or some Cholula for kick afterwards. Don’t be afraid to add more garlic and salt. The garlic tends to weaken with cooking.

We recommend not draining the beef after browning for flavor, unless your doctor advises otherwise. You could save three or four tablespoons of the grease for the cornbread. For those on a low-fat diet, you could use lean beef or ground turkey.

Chili is super easy to make and can be ready to eat in less than an hour. Know it gets better with slow simmering though. Cornbread takes about half an hour. Beginners, use this chili recipe as a starting point and don’t be afraid to experiment to create your own household recipe.

Steve’s Texas Red

Ingredients
3 pounds ground beef
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
4 to 5 sweet mini peppers, diced
2 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chiles
¼ cup minced garlic
2 tablespoons ground cumin
3 to 8 tablespoons ground chili powder
Salt to taste
Optional
1 or 2 cans red kidney beans
Green onions, chopped
Cheese, shredded
Lime wedges
1 (12 ounce) bottle of Lone Star Beer

Procedure
Combine onions, celery and peppers in a pot and cook on medium-high heat until soft. Add ground beef, and brown it. Do not drain.

Add tomato sauce, tomato–chile mixture, garlic, salt, and cumin. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer. The juices from all the ingredients should be enough, but if you need it to have a bit more liquid, you could pour in some cheap beer like Lone Star. Drink whatever you don’t use.

Add chili powder a couple teaspoons at a time, to taste. Let it simmer between tastings, and keep in mind that it will get more spicy as it cooks.

Simmer for an hour or two.

The Texas Red recipe need not include beans, but, if you want to, add them in for the simmer. We won’t judge you.
Serve topped with shredded cheese and chopped green onions.

Garnish with a lime wedge.

Serves 12.

This crispy cornbread recipe was adapted from "Joy of Cooking," one of the U.S.'s most published cookbooks. It was first published in 1931 and the Cooking Plebe found a copy at a yard sale. (Photo by Christina Ulsh)
This crispy cornbread recipe was adapted from “Joy of Cooking,” one of the U.S.’s most published cookbooks. It was first published in 1931 and the Cooking Plebe found a copy at a yard sale. (Photo by Christina Ulsh)

Cornbread, adapted from “Joy of Cooking”

Ingredients
½ cup sifted all-purpose flour
2½ teaspoons double-acting baking powder
1 to 2 tablespoons sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
1½ cups yellow or white water-ground corn meal
1 egg
2 to 3 tablespoons melted butter or beef drippings
¾ cup milk
1 jalapeño, diced and sautéed

Procedure
Bring ingredients to room temperature. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

For a brown crust, heavily grease pan and stick in oven until sizzling hot prior to adding batter. For nonstick pans, heat in oven without greasing.

Sift together flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Add corn meal.
In a separate bowl, beat egg. Then beat butter (or drippings) and milk into egg.

Pour liquid ingredients and sauteed jalapenos into dry ingredients. Mix with few quick strokes.

Place batter in pan sections. Bake for about 25 minutes.

Serve with lots of butter.

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