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Hal’s Hot for Chili Recipe

Hal Rubenstein

Hal’s Hot for Chili Recipe

Growing up I hated chili.  I didn’t get it.  To a Bronx born kid ,it just looked and tasted like poor man’s pot roast – some lazy stew derived by lopping cheddar cheese, sour cream and onions atop Sloppy Joe’s mixed with way too many beans.   But just as native New Yorkers discover once they start crossing the Hudson, that the chances for satisfying one’s genetic cravings for hot pastrami or fresh bialys get real slim, I learned the reverse was also true.  The New York of my youth was no place to learn about – or eat – chili.

It took the Emmy and Peabody Award winning journalist and native Texan, Linda Ellerbee, to teach me “if there’s beans in it, it ain’t real Texas chili.  You may like it.  You can eat it.  But don’t ever call it chili. I’ll show you chili.”  And she did.   She makes a helluva good one.  Since that first bowl in Ellerbee’s kitchen, I have read and devoured at least two-dozen chili recipes before devising the one below.  It’s spicy enough to reach for a beer; it’s soothing enough to almost substitute for chicken soup.   And if you want to put red beans in it, knock yourself out.  But just call it something else.

serves 6 – 8 depending on appetites

3 LBS beef chuck, cut into 1 inch cubes, fat trimmed

2 carrots diced

2 green bell peppers, seeded and diced,

1 red pepper, seeded and diced

1 stalk celery, diced

1 large Spanish onion, diced

4 plum tomatoes

10 cloves garlic, minced

4 oz tomato paste

1 Ancho chili, seeded and minced

2 tbsp olive oil

3 tbs ancho chilis, minced

3 tbsp Pasilla Chili powder

1 quart beef broth

1 tb cumin

1 tb sugar

1 tb white vinegar

2 tb coriander

2 tsp fresh thyme

2 tsp fresh oregano

2 tbsp flour

Chili powder

Garlic powder

black pepper

sea salt

Sriracha sauce

Grated Monterey Jack Cheese




• Put meat in a bowl.   Add 1 tbsp sea salt, ground black pepper, garlic powder, chili

powder.  Mix and let sit for 20 mins

• Heat olive oil in large part.  Brown meat for 7-10 minutes, then transfer meat to plate

• In the same pot, add carrots, onion, celery, peppers, garlic, oregano, thyme .  Season

with salt & pepper.  Cook over medium heat until softened, about 5 mins.

• Add tomato paste and sugar and mix to coat

• Return meat to pot, sprinkle with flour but mix in quickly

• Stir in vinegar

• Add beef broth in 4 parts to prevent lumps

• Add tomatoes, cumin, minced Ancho chili

• Stir firmly to insure ingredients are evenly distributed and bring to a boil over a medium heat.

• Reduce heat to a simmer and cook covered for 90 minutes.

• Add Sriracha sauce one tablespoon at a time to level of desirable and bearable heat

• Let Chili sit until scorching temperature subsides a bit, then serve in bowls and top with

Jack Cheese

Please note that there are NO BEANS in this chili.   I can’t stop you from adding any, but honestly, they ruin everything.   They’re a unwanted guest, a low rent filler, plus talk to anyone from Texas and they will tell you that beans are to chili what mayonnaise is to pastrami.  If you don’t understand the last reference, you’re on your own.