This past Christmas, my wife’s parents bought me The Food Lab by J. Kenji López-Alt. It’s definitely one of the best cookbooks I’ve ever owned. Kenji sets up a great foundation for every topic, and encourages experimentation to achieve better results.
The first full recipe I attempted was the Real Texas Chile Con Carne. Using whole dried chiles for the base made for an impossibly rich and smokey flavor. I shared it with friends this past February and can’t wait to make it again. From the recipe:
Real Texas chile con carne is made with beef, chilies, and not a whole lot else. This is the real deal. A bowl of hot Texas red with chunky, fall-apart tender beef chuck and fresh dried chilies.
Why this recipe works:
- Using a blend of whole dried chilies delivers maximum flavor to the stew.
- We sear whole chunks of beef chuck before cutting them into chunks. This ensures that the beef sears instead of steams, delivering better browning and more flavor in a minimal amount of time.
Note: This makes for a moderately hot to hot chili. You can vary the heat by adding or removing the hot chilies and the canned chipotles.