Want a taste of international travel without leaving your kitchen? Why not make a traditional, red-hot chilli from Texas, a dish that has been firing up residents of the US state since the 1800s, if not before.
What is it?
In Texas, this slow-simmered beef dish with its fiery chilli paste is known as a “bowl o’ red”. The more “alarms”, the hotter the chili – five is the maximum.
Ingredients (serves 4)
500g (1lb) beef mince
1 tbs oil
1 cup (250mL) passata
2 cups (500mL) water
½–2 tsp ground cayenne pepper (depending on how spicy you want it)
1½ tsp salt
1½ tsp cumin
1½ tsp oregano
1½ tsp paprika
1 small onion, peeled and minced
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
Grated Cheddar cheese and sour cream to serve
How to cook
Step 1: Brown the beef in the oil in a large saucepan over a medium to high heat.
Step 2: Add the passata and water and stir.
Step 3: Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer.
Step 4: Simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Step 5: Serve with grated Cheddar cheese and sour cream.
Texas chili is a hearty meat-and-chilli stew, distinguished from other types of chili by its lack of beans or tomatoes. Though you can sample it at nearly any greasy-spoon diner in the Lone Star State, attending a cook-off is undoubtedly the most authentic way to taste it. Buy yourself a raffle ticket, grab a spoon, and get ready for some heat. The best chilis will be thick and never greasy, with tender chunks of meat and a slow-smoked flavour. The type of chilli used depends on the cook – popular bets are smoky guajillos; rich, dark pasillas; or singing-hot árbols. Cool your mouth down with a fat wedge of cornbread and a slug of Texas lager.
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Have you recreated any of the dishes featured in this series so far? Share your pictures with us on Twitter and Instagram by tagging @lonelyplanet. For more great recipes, check out Lonely Planet’s book The World’s Best Spicy Food.
This was originally published in April 2020 and updated in September 2020.