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Pecos River Bowl O’ Red

by Jane Butel

The influence behind this recipe came from my maternal grandfather, who when working with the Santa Fe Railroad learned how to prepare it from the “cookies,” or trail cooks. It has won numerous chili cook-offs and is one of the really true original chiles.

Serves 8 persons

2 tablespoons shortening, preferably solid shortening
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
3 pounds beef chuck, cut into ½-inch cubes
3 medium-size garlic cloves, finely chopped
¼ cup ground hot chile or to taste
¼ cup ground mild chile
1 tablespoon ground cumin
About 3 cups water
1-1/2 teaspoons salt

1. Heat lard in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened. Remove from heat.

2. Add meat, garlic, ground chiles and cumin to pot. Break up any lumps. Stir in the water and salt. Return to heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 2-1/2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally, until the meat is very tender and the flavors are well blended. Add more water if necessary. Taste and adjust seasonings.

3. Serve with fixin’s ‘n mixins’ of coarsely grated cheeses, pickled jalapenos, chopped onion and sour cream with lime wedges garnished with a “ruffle” of red chile.

Reprinted with permission from Jane Butel’s Chili Madness.


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