Authentic Austin Chili Recipe

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This chili is easy to make but prep can be time-consuming. It is worth it, and addictive. My family expects it with the first cold snap of the year. I make two batches because it freezes perfectly for a couple of months.
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  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 pounds beef (see notes)
  • 2 medium white onions, coarsely chopped
  • 5 tablespoons Gebhardts chili powder (see notes)
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 3 tablespoons dried cumin
  • 2 teaspoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt, add to taste
  • 1 tablespoon grated Mexican chocolate, (see notes)
  • 1 quart beef stock
  • 1 quart or more water, as needed
  • 2 teaspoons natural peanut butter, smooth
  • Chopped white onion
  • Mexican sour cream
  • Assemble the measured ingredients.
  • Add the olive oil to a large heavy pot.
  • Brown the ground beef in small batches, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon as you go.
  • Remove the batches from the pot with a slotted spoon between browning.
  • Pour off all but 2 tablespoons collected oil after browning.
  • Add the onions to the same pan and oil over medium high heat until softened but not browned, stirring often.
  • Add the browned beef.
  • Stir in the remaining dry ingredients.
  • Add the beef stock and stir.
  • Add enough water, if needed, to create a thin soupy consistency in the beginning.
  • Simmer the chili about an hour, partially covered, adding water as necessary until it reaches a medium thick stage.
  • At this point, and not before, start tasting for adjustments to taste for seasoning, particularly salt.
  • Continue simmering, partially covered, for another half hour, stirring and adding water occasionally to keep medium thick consistency.
  • At 1.5 hours total, remove the lid and add the ingredient that brings it all together, the peanut butter.
  • Sir and continue simmering, adding a little more water if needed, until the chili becomes very thick and shiny, about another 30 minutes.
  • Skim off the considerable amount of oil on the top. Stir the bits of remaining oil into the chili. It adds flavor and color.
  • Serve in colorful bowls with a dollop of Mexican sour cream and a sprinkling of chopped white onion, along with warm corn and flour tortillas on the side.
  • Do not use regular ground beef. Either have your butcher use the large chili-grind blade on untrimmed chuck roast, or do like the chili contestants do and cut the beef into hundreds of tiny heart shaped pieces.
  • Sorry, but Gebhardts is the only commercial chili powder that works here. It is found in Mexican markets and most groceries. Or you can buy Mexican chili powder from Mexican markets, or do like I do and grind your own.
  • Mexican chocolate is found in those flat or cone shaped cinnamon scented chocolate disks you find in Mexican markets. If you can't find it, just use a good cocoa and a pinch of ground cinnamon, which works really well for this hard to find ingredient.
  • Do not use commercial peanut butter; it adds an off-flavor.
  • If you have never tried real Mexican sour cream, treat yourself and try to find it. Or stir a little lemon zest in the commercial stuff.
  • All these Mexican food products are easily (and cheaply!) available online.
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