This recipe along with Don's comments were taken from Rock and Roll Cuisine by Robin Le Mesurier and Peggy Sue Honeyman-Scott.
The word "chili" (pronounced "chee-lee"), is an Aztec word, but the Spanish version commonly used now is chile (pronounced "chee-lay"). Both words refer to the fruit of the "Capsicum annuum" plant, which was, because of its piquancy, misnamed "pepper" (after the black pepper-corn of the East Indies), by the Spanish explorers. This practice of mislabeling things because the are "like" other things has been going on for centuries and is something that musicians, particularly, have come to know and abhor. The labelers have given us such gems as "country rock", "jazz fusion" (melted jazz?), "Dylanesque", "adult contemporary", "pop-rock", dance music", "punk", "post punk" and my least favorite, "New Age" music. Who does this stuff? I don't know, but then I don't know who names streets either. At any rate, there are roughly 200 different types of chilies in the world and nobody knows the names of all of them. So, when we refer to a dish as "chili", what we really mean is "chili (or chile), con carne"—chili peppers with meat. Somewhere along the line, the "con carne" was dropped, additional spices were added and the "chili" that we know today evolved. Unfortunately, this evolutionary process also produced several aberrations which cannot be called anything but hog slop. In fact, let's get one thing straight right now: True, authentic "chili" does not—I repeat, NOT—have beans in it. Beans are a separate dish to be relished and revered in their own right. When you put beans in chili, you insult both the beans AND the chili.
Now, let's get on with it. Here's what you need to make real chili:
A case of beer (preferably Mexican beer, but American or a light German beer will do). I prefer Corona, Bohemia or Superior.
4 pounds lean beef (I like to use a combination of 2 pounds coarsely ground and 2 pounds cubed)
3 medium onions, chopped
3 or 4 tablespoons vegetable oil or olive oil
2 eight-ounce or 1 fifteen-ounce can tomato sauce—(NOT tomato paste). Whole or chopped tomatoes will do if you can't find tomato sauce)
4 teaspoons salt
2 heaping teaspoons comino, also known as cumin, seeds or powder (it is best to grind seeds in a mocajete, i.e., a mortar and pestle)
3 heaping tablespoons of chili powder (if you live in Europe, call up Gebhardt Mexican foods Co. in San Antonio, Texas (512)227-0157 or the Pecos River Spice Co., P.O. Box 1600. Corrales, New Mexico (they have a phone number in New York for your convenience: (212) 628-5374, and tell them you need some chili powder. If that fails, go to a Spanish market and see if you can buy some dried, red ancho or anaheim chili peppers. (or try out the Online Chili Market. Take the seeds out (please take the seeds out—and don't rub your eyes). Then, grind, crush, chop or otherwise mutilate these peppers as best you can.)
2 level teaspoons paprika
2 level teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 fresh jalapeño peppers (remove sees and chop—do not rub eyes)
2 or 3 heaping tablespoons masa (corn) flour. If you can't get corn flour, regular wheat flour or ground yellow cornmeal will do.
Now, have a beer. If you have managed to round up all of the above ingredients, you deserve one. It will also help to give you the correct "attitude" for making chili. In a large skillet, sauté the meat, onions and half the garlic in the oil until the meat is grey in color. Then, dump the meat, onions and garlic into a large pot with the tomato sauce. Rinse the tomato sauce cans with beer and pour it into the pot. Get yourself another beer. Spread the meat evenly over the bottom of the pot. Add enough water so that the meat is covered by ½ inch. Add the remaining ingredients EXCEPT the four. (NOTE: The cayenne pepper is what more or less determines the fieriness of the chili. If you want hotter chili, use more. If you want milder chili, use less). Heat all ingredients to a mild boil, turn the flame down IMMEDIATELY and simmer for at least one hour and 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Skim off excess grease as it rises to the top. Mix the flour with warm water to make a paste that is thick but pourable. Add this to the pot while stirring and simmer for another 30 minutes—or another three hours—it just gets better. Have another beer. Consider the above list of ingredients again. Think about what a pain-in-the-ass it is to assemble them. Go to the phone and call Caliente Chili, Inc., PO Drawer 5340, Austin, Texas 78763. Phone (512)472-6996 and tell Gordon Fowler or any of the other nice folks down there that you are in dire need of some Wick Fowler's 2-Alarm Chili "fixins" (that's "ingredients" to you). They will in turn send you as many packets as you like of authentic, all natural, pre-measured ingredients to which you only have to add the meat and the tomato sauce (I like to throw in fresh onion and garlic, plus a little beer). This will enable you to make a pot of chili every bit as good (if not better), than the above recipe with a helluva-lot less trouble. And, no, I don't own part of the company, I just like the product. It's good stuff. Have another beer. (ed note: people have told us that this number and address don't work. To get the Wick Fowler chili kit, visit the Luzianne web site. You can order it from there.