Learning to prepare competition beef chili was a fun cooking experience. A couple years back my friend Sue asked me to enter a chili cook off with her. My experience with beef chili growing up consisted of that pre-packed envelope of chili spices that you added to ground beef. Growning up in a very Mexican environment, I always saw chili as a more American dish and something that I really came to love when I moved to Texas. I will never forget when I tasted my first frito chili pie at Deady Jr. High in Houston, Texas. Wow! I was hooked! The debate is still out on where the frito chili pie first originated, bit I am just happy to have discovered it no matter who invented it. There are many rules and regulations when it comes to preparing competition chili. Most often a typical Texas Red style chili recipe is prepared with no fillers. When I say fillers, I mean no beans, macaroni or other type of fillers. It’s most often straight beef with dry spices, beef broth or bouillon. For today’s recipe I tried to stay true to the “cook-off” style chili to test out the flavors as compared to the homestyle chili I usually prepared with fresh onions, garlic and diced tomatoes. I did use some tomato product, green chiles and beans at the end since we would be enjoying this chili at home. I was happy with the results and would definitely prepare it this way again. Although we did not place for our tasty version of competition chili, I did bring home a trophy for 1st place in the salsa competion! Lol! That’s a whole other blog post…#confessionsofachilehead
1 1/2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
2 pounds ground chuck or chuck roast, sliced small
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
First Dump 6 ounces tomato paste 8 ounces tomato sauce 1/2 tablespoon tamarind paste 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 1 teaspoon hickory flavored liquid smoke 1 packet Goya beef bouillon granules (enough for 2 cups of water) 2 1/2 cups water
Second Dump 2 tablespoon dark chili powder 2 tablespoons light chili powder 1 tablespoon dry mustard 1 tablespoon garlic powder 1 tablespoon onion powder 1 tablespoon cumin 1 tablespoon smoked paprika 1/2 ounce Mexican chocolate 1 1/2 teaspoons ground oregano 1 teaspoon pepper 1 teaspoon coriander 1/2 teaspoon ground jalapeño 1 teaspoon Goya beef bouillon powder 2 cups water 1/4 cup masa harina mixed with 1/3 cup water 1 large Anaheim or poblano pepper, remove seeds and stems and dice finely. *if you like, you could roast the pepper before adding, but I did not 15 oz. can pinto beans, drained 15 oz. can dark red kidney beans, drained
Third Dump Check for chili spices, maybe add in another 1/2 tablespoon of each…cumin…check for salt
This is as simple as it gets!
1. In a large dutch oven style pot, preheat the oil to medium high heat until just before smoking. Add the beef and season with 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper and 1 teaspoon granulated garlic. Stir fry until meat is nicely seared and somewhat charred in some spots. I start light with the seasonings because you will season as you go.
2. Once the meat is nice and seared, add all of the ingredients listed for the First Dump. I know it makes me laugh everytime I read that, but it makes sense in the world of chili cook off competitions. Stir well to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and taste for salt. Cover and cook for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring as needed. You really want the raw flavors of of the tomato products to cook out and deepen the flavors.
3. When ready, add all of the ingredients listed for the Second Dump. Repeat by stirring well to combine, bringing up to a simmer, tasting for salt. In a small bowl, whisk the masa harina with 1/2 cup of water and stir into the chili until well incorporated. Add in the green chile and drained beans. Continue cooking for another 35 to 40 minutes, stirring as needed.
4. Now once you reach the Third Dump, this is where you can make the recipe your own by adjusting the spice levels to your taste. I usually end up adding a little more of each spice, minus the salt and a couple dashes of hot sauce. Simmer for another 25 to 30 minutes. Yields up to 8 servings.
The original flour tortilla recipe my mom shared with me consisted of a whole 5 pound bag of flour, no exact measurements for hot melted shortening or lard and directions to just keep adding water until a smooth dough formed. I wrote the recipe down in my first recipe book, put it up on the bookshelf and walked away, lol! To say it was a bit intimidating is an understatement.
After a year of being married, I decided to tackle the recipe on my own for the first time. In 1987, you could not google a recipe. I decided I was going to wing it! I used what math skills I could remember from high school and broke down the recipe. I started with 2 cups of melted shortening, added some salt, cold water and just gradually started adding flour and mixing with my hands. I thought I was happy with the dough until I tried to roll it out..oh my! I had tortillas in the shapes of every state in America! They were dry and cracked easily, nothing like my Mom’s flour tortillas that I would dream about.
Every time I prepared them I learned something new or adjusted the measurements. Little by little they were more like what I remembered. I would often return home to L.A., but my Mom was too ill to make tortillas and that made me even more determined to get it right. During a visit from my brother Ismael and his family a few summers back, his mother in law ,Tommie, helped me fine tune the rolling of the tortillas. I think after 28 years I am finally happy with my tortillas and would be proud to serve them to my parents.
3 cups of all-purpose flour ½ cup vegetable shortening or manteca (pork lard) 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 cup warm tap water Extra flour for dusting
1. Melt the shortening in a microwave-safe bowl (glass). Add the water, salt and baking powder. Gradually add the flour in, working the dough with your hands until it is no longer sticky. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand for at least 30 minutes.
2. After 30 minutes, preheat a griddle to medium heat. Roll dough balls, about 2 inches. On a flat surface, dust with flour and roll out one dough ball at a time (about 5 inches). Cook on griddle until the tortilla starts to bubble up, turn and cook for another minute.
3. If tortillas are cooking too fast, turn down the heat. You want a light brown color. Stack the cooked tortillas in between a clean kitchen towel, and keep them covered. Yields up to 20 small tortillas. Once the tortillas are completely cool, store in resealable plastic bags, in the refrigerator. Reheat on hot griddle for a few minutes. They will keep for 7 to 10 days.
Tips~ I get asked a lot on the temperature of the water when preparing the tortillas. I have used both hot and cold water while preparing recipe, both have worked. But I prefer a warm water, as the shortening is pretty hot when melted and the warm water, cools it slightly so it’s easier to handle.
Chile Infused Tortillas Using Chili Powder
ChiIi Powder Infused Flour Tortillas
1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons crisco shortening, melted
1/4 cup gebhardt chili powder (I used Gebhardt brand)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
1 cup hot tap water
3 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
*yields 24 to 26 small tortillas
1. Melt the shortening in a large glass bowl. Stir in the chili powder, onion powder and salt. Stir in the hot water. Add 1 cup of flour and baking powder and stir well to combine. Gradually add in the remaining flour until smooth dough forms. You want the dough to be slightly sticky and moist. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes.
2. Preheat cast iron comal or skillet to medium/low heat for 6 minutes. Roll 24 dough balls, transfer to plate and keep covered so they don’t dry out. Roll the dough balls out on a flat, lightly floured surface. Your tortilla should not take more than 8 rolls with rolling pin, ha ha… Turn the tortilla slightly after each roll, using flour as needed.
3. Cook on hot comal or skillet for a few seconds per side. If the tortilla does not bubble up right away, your comal is not hot enough. You will have to adjust the heat as you go since all stove tops heat differently. Transfer in between a clean kitchen towel until all the tortillas are done. Cool completely before storing in plastic storage bag in the refrigerator. Reheat on hot comal for a few seconds per side.
Chile Infused Flour Tortilllas Using Chile Sauce/Puree
Whole Wheat Flour Tortillas
Annatto Infused Flour Tortillas
Flour Tortillas Prepared with Coconut Oil
I am really loving this coconut oil! Just finished up my first jar with this batch of flour tortillas~
1/2 cup coconut oil, warm to soften 1 cup hot water 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1 tablespoon jalapeño pepper flakes, optional 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon cumin 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour, sifted, plus more for dusting
1. Combine the coconut oil, water, baking powder, jalapeño flakes, salt and cumin. Stir gently and gradually add in the flour until the dough forms. Make 18 to 20 dough balls, transfer to a plate, cover with plastic wrap and let them rest for 1 hour.
2. Preheat a large griddle or comal to medium heat for 5 to 6 minutes. On a flat, lightly floured surface roll out the dough balls to about 5 inches. Cook on the hot comal for 30 to 40 seconds per side. Keep warm in between a couple of kitchen towels. Cool completely before storing in a plastic ziploc bag in refrigerator. Reheat on hot comal.
Spinach and Jalapeño Flour Tortillas. This was a fun and new recipe for me to try. This was my first time preparing tortilla dough in my food processor. I cannot take credit for this tasty recipe. I stumbled upon this recipe on Pinterst on the blog site Delightful-Delicious-Delovely, owned by Christine Elise McCarthy http://delightfuldeliciousdelovelyblog.wordpress.com/2012/12/14/margarita-pizza-quesadilla-on-homemade-spinach-tortillas/
I absolutely loved how the dough came together and how quick it was using the food processor. If you know me, I of course had to add my own touch to this great recipe. Instead of olive oil, I used manteca (pork lard) and I added a full tablespoon of dried jalapeño flakes. The results were a super soft and flexible tortilla, very easy to roll out without much effort at all. I will be preparing these again and can’t wait to try some other add-ins, such as sun dried tomatoes, caramelized onions and toasted garlic. The pictures I share with you today are my own, but do check out Christine Elise McCarthy’s blog site for some great Food Porn!!! Lol!
Spinach Jalapeno Flour Tortillas
2 cups (packed) fresh baby spinach 1 1/2 cups water 3 cups flour, plus more for dusting 1 tablespoon dried jalapeño pepper flakes 2 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon salt 6 tablespoons pork lard, manteca, melted (or olive oil as stated in the original recipe)
1. Add the spinach to a pan with 1 1/2 cups of water. Heat to medium and cook just until spinach has wilted. Remove spinach from pan, reserve the water and rinse spinach under cool water. Squeeze out as much of the liquid as possible and drop it into a 2 cup measuring cup. Add enough spinach water until you reach the 1 1/2 cup mark, set aside.
2. In the food processor, add the flour, jalapeño flakes, baking powder and salt. Pulse to mix until combined. Add the melted lard, shortening or oil and pulse until mixed in. Add in the spinach, minus the water and process one more time. Stream in a little of the water from measuring cup until the dough forms. It will gather on one side and form a dough ball.
3. Remove dough from processor onto a lightly floured surface until soft, but not too sticky. Roll 15 medium dough balls and flatten slightly. Cover with plastic and let set for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
4. Preheat a large comal or griddle pan to medium heat for 6 to7 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the tortillas to about 7 inches in diameter. Cook on hot comal for 20 to 30 seconds per side. They should start bubbling up as soon as they hit that hot surface. Keep warm in between a kitchen towel until all done. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Reheat on a warm comal or griddle. Depending on how big you want the tortillas, this recipe yields 15 to 20 tortillas.
Embracing my Mexican heritage and sharing all the wonderful flavors, colors and foods I grew up with. Join me on this journey as I also learn new foods and cooking techniques. Dedicated to my parents Ramiro and Blanca.