REAL TEXAS CHILI CON CARNE

SERVES 6 TO 8
4 pounds boneless beef chuck, trimmed of gristle and excess fat and cut into 2-inch chunks
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, finely diced
4 medium cloves garlic, minced or grated on a Microplane (about 4 teaspoons)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
¼ teaspoon ground allspice (optional)
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 cup Chile Paste (here)
2 quarts homemade or low-sodium canned chicken stock
2 to 3 tablespoons instant cornmeal (such as Maseca)
Garnishes as desired (see the headnote)

  1. Season half of the meat with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat until smoking. Add the seasoned meat and cook, without moving it, until well browned on bottom, about 6 minutes. Transfer the meat to a large bowl, add the uncooked meat, and set aside.
  2. Return the Dutch oven to medium-high heat, add the onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until softened but not browned, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, cinnamon and allspice, if using, and oregano and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Add the meat, along with the chile paste and chicken stock, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer, cover, leaving the lid just barely ajar, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is completely tender, 2½ to 3 hours. (Alternatively, the chili can be cooked in a 200° to 250°F oven with the lid of the Dutch oven slightly ajar.)
  4. Season the liquid to taste with salt and pepper. Whisk in the cornmeal in a slow, steady stream until the desired thickness is reached. Serve, or, for best results, allow the chili to cool overnight, then reheat the next day to serve. Serve with some or all of the suggested garnishes, along with corn chips or tortillas.

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