Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Real Texas Chili

Purists somewhere are probably screaming at the title of this post, since my 'real' Texas chili uses Gardein's beefless tips instead of beef stew meat.  But what the title mainly refers to is the insistence that Texas chili has no beans - just the beef and a savory, seasoned broth.  This vegan version was real enough for me.

  • Cooking spray
  • 2 pounds frozen Gardein beefless tips (about 7 and 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 3 cups chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped jalapeno pepper
  • 6 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 cup vegan dry red wine
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 and 3/4 cups vegan beef broth (prepared from Not Beef bouillon)
  • 1 (12-ounce) bottle beer*
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup vegan sour cream
1. Heat a Dutch oven coated with cooking spray over medium to medium-high heat.  Place the Gardein beef in a large bowl and toss with the salt and pepper.  Add half of the beef to the pan and cook for about 8 minutes, until browned. Remove from the pan and repeat with the remaining beef.  Remove from the pan.

2. Add 3 cups onion to the pan and saute for 5 minutes.  Add the cumin seeds, jalapeno, and garlic; saute for 1 minute.  Add the red wine, scraping the pan to loosen the browned bits that have accumulated during cooking up to this point.

3. Return the beef to the pan, along with the white vinegar, chili powder, oregano, beef broth, and beer - don't forget to pour the beer slowly so it doesn't fizz up.  Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 1 and 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.  Uncover and simmer a final hour, stirring occasionally.

Note: Gardein beef actually won't need this long to cook; if you're short on time, you can simmer for as little as ten minutes.  However, I love long-simmered stews over very low heat, so all of the flavors can really blend.  Tonight was the perfect night to do so, with rainy gray skies outside my window.

4. Stir in the cilantro just before serving.  Ladle 1 cup of chili into each of 8 bowls, and top each serving with 1 tablespoon chopped onion and 1 tablespoon sour cream.

*Wondering what beer to choose for your "real" Texas chili?  The recipe didn't specify, so I did some Google searching; most people suggested a Mexican beer, in keeping with the geographic region.  Try a Negra Modelo or Corona, both vegan-friendly.

Nutrition Info:
8 servings (1 cup chili, 1 tablespoon sour cream, 1 tablespoon chopped onion), Calories 268

Tasting Notes:
This chili had wonderfully rich concentrated flavor - the perfect amount of spice, and just the right zip from the combination of the red wine and beer.  The only part that I didn't like was the raw onion sprinkled on top, which I would simply skip next time.  I also found that the chili was a little watery; I recommend adding only half the amount of broth called for, if you prefer a thick, chunky chili.



  1. I'm writing a round-up of vegan Texas chilis, and I've included yours. Can I post your picture along with the link to your blog?

  2. hi Molly - I'm incredibly flattered, and yes you're more than welcome to use the picture and link. Thanks very much!