3 pounds lean beef chuck, cut into thumb-size pieces
2 ounces beef suet
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon cayenne
1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce
2 or more garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons Masa Harina (optional)
Break off stems of chiles and remove seeds. Place chiles in a small saucepan,
cover them with water. Simmer the chiles for 30 minutes.
Puree chiles in a blender with a bit of their cooking liquid to make a smooth,
thin paste. Use as little liquid as possible, unless you want the chili to be soupy.
Pour the chile puree into a Dutch oven.
In a heavy skillet, sear the meat in two batches with the beef suet until the
meat is gray. Transfer each batch to the chile puree, then pour in enough of the
chile cooking liquid to cover the meat by about 2 inches. Bring the chili to a boil,
and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook the chili 30 minutes.
Remove the chili from the heat, and stir in the remaining ingredients. Return
the chili to the heat, and resume simmering for 45 minutes, keeping the lid on except
to stir occasionally (too much stirring will tear up the meat). Add more chile cooking
liquid only if you think the mixture will burn otherwise.
After 45 minutes, add the Masa Harina if you wish. It will add a subtle, tamale-like
taste to the chile and will thicken or "tighten" the chili. Cover the
chili again, and simmer it for another 30 minutes, until the meat is done.
Adjust seasonings during this time. Take the chile off the heat and refrigerate
Skim as much fat as you wish from the chili before re-heating it.