I know. I know. I know what you’re thinking!
‘Uh, M., shouldn’t you be talking about egg nog? Or gingerbread? Or at least blogging about cookies or something?’
‘What’s going on with your brain?’
What can I tell you?
The temperature has dropped here in Arizona and I need some warm comfort. Maybe you do too?
Those of you who are students of the cuisine and culinary history of Texas will know that Lady Bird Johnson was not to be messed with when it came to the cooking up a storm, Texas style. I will confess that I fell in love as soon as I came across this heritage recipe for her Pedernales River Chili.
Was it the ease of preparation?
Or maybe all of those luscious spices?
Perhaps the mass quantities that it yields, perfect for feeding the comings and goings of a holiday crowd?
All of the above for sure.
Either way, I urge you to throw together a batch of this simple, sumptuous, one-pot meal. Get spicy. Get comfortable. And get warm, Texas-style.
Lady Bird Johnson’s Pedernales River Chili
recipe adapted from the original recipe, found in the online archives of the LBJ Presidential Library
Chef’s Note: This recipe can easily be halved if you prefer a smaller yield. Note that if you do make a half batch, you will likely need to simmer in the last step for approximately half the time (just 30 minutes).
4 pounds ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. oregano, dried, ground
1 tsp. cumin, ground
1 1/2 c. canned tomatoes, chopped
2 to 6 dashes hot sauce, or to taste
ancho chile, ground, to taste
chile de árbol, ground, to taste
salt to taste
Cook the meat, onion and garlic in a Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring, until lightly browned. Stir in the oregano, cumin, chile powder, tomatoes, hot sauce, salt and 2 cups hot water. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer, covered, for about 1 hour, skimming off the fat as it cooks.
Yield: approximately 12 servings