Beanless, beefy and a Lone Star tradition, this chili could be straight outta Terlingua, where the original Chili Cook-off was, and still is, held.

Chef Philip Yates of The Grand America is from Texas and takes the purist approach of his native land—uses chili-ground beef, sweats his onions with no caramelization and adds spice with ground guajillo, ancho, cumin and cayenne.

“I learned to make chili from my dad,” Yates says. “He often used venison, but cooked by taste instead of a recipe, building layers of flavors and adjusting the seasonings as he cooked. That was my first experience with real cooking.”


Chef Philip Yates, photo by Adam Finkle.

Here's how to make your own Texas chili to warm up your winter:

Serves 12-15

3 pounds of chili-grind red meat (beef, bison, venison or other game)
1 large onion, diced small 
1 medium bell pepper, diced 
1 medium red bell pepper, diced 
6 cloves of garlic, chopped
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup tomato puree
2 quarts water
7 Tbsp. chili powder
3 Tbsp. cumin powder
2 Tbsp. paprika
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. onion powder

Along the way ingredients
 
Salt and Pepper
Cayenne

The Finisher
4 Tbsp. Maseca (brand name for masa or corn flour)
1/4–1/3 cup cold water

In your chili pot, sauté red meat, onions, bell peppers and chopped garlic. Once meat is cooked through and peppers and onions are translucent, add the remaining ingredients and stir. Bring to a boil, reduce to a low simmer. As your chili simmers begin to add salt, pepper and cayenne to taste, remember your chili will reduce and these ingredients will intensify. Simmer until chili meat reaches the right tenderness and your seasoning is where you want it to be. Personally, I prefer my chili meat to have a little bite left in it. If your chili over reduces before meat reaches desired tenderness, add more water and chicken stock. To finish, whisk Maseca and cold water in a separate bowl, making sure all lumps are removed. Drizzle mixture into your chili as you whisk. This will tighten up your chili and give it a touch of corn flavor.

Simmer 10 more minutes.

Frito Pie

If you spend a New Year's Eve at my house, you'll be handed a Frito pie. 

Open a lunchbox-sized bag of Fritos. Ladle in some chili, sprinkle on some cheese and onions, and eat right outta the bag.

This Texas lunch counter classic was the surprise entry of Grand America Executive Chef Phillip Yates in the 24th Annual Great Salt Lake Chili Affair cook-off, in support of The Road Home. Somewhat ironically, he won “Most Original,” although this is a dish that’s been served at lunch counters in the Southwest since the invention of Fritos in the 1930s.

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