Big Bend Texas-Style Chili

  • Active Time 15m
  • Total Time 1h 15m
  • Rating ****

Serves 6

The saying goes that there are as many chili recipes in Texas as there are Texans; why, even LBJ, the late president, had his own favorite recipe. There are many schools of thought when it comes to the subject of chili. Some purists favor chopped beef, others ground beef, as here; some swear by kidney beans, others dismiss them as an adulteration! Whatever their preferences, chili fans should know that every fall in Terlingua, a hamlet nestled in the mountainous Big Bend area of southwestern Texas, a national chili cookoff is held that arouses considerable passions. Grizzled old hands and aspiring cooks alike converge on the area from all quarters and enjoy one another's company as well as the world-class chili.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 1 1/2 pounds lean high-quality ground beef
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons pure red chili powder
  • 4 Roma tomatoes (about 8 ounces), blanched, peeled, and diced
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup beef stock
  • 1 cup dark beer
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons minced oregano
  • 1/4 cup minced parsley
  • One 15-ounce can red kidney beans, drained
  • 4 ounces crumbled goat cheese, for garnish



Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the garlic and onions, and saute over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Add the beef and saute for 7-8 minutes more, while stirring frequently, or until the beef is well browned on all sides. Season with salt and pepper, stir in the chili powder, and cook for 2 minutes more. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, beef stock, beer, vinegar, cumin, oregano and parsley, and stir well to combine.

Bring to a simmer, turn down the heat to low and cook, covered, for 45 minutes. Add the beans and cook for 15 minutes longer, stirring occasionally. Ladle into serving bowls and sprinkle with the goat cheese.


Since this dish contains dark beer, consider using the same beer as a beverage. A lighter style of red wine such as a Beaujolais or Italian Bardolino will also work well with the flavors.


Most chili dishes actually taste better the next day, after the flavors have had time to marinate and marry. You can use black beans instead of kidney beans if you prefer, or a mixture of the two.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Harper Collins. All rights reserved.

RecID 3345

nutrition information per serving

473 calories; 23g total fat; 61mg cholesterol; 401mg sodium; 29g carbohydrates; 9g fiber; 37g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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