Authentic Texas Border Chili


  • 3 medium tomatoes
  • 1 large Bermuda onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 5 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 4 pounds beef shank, coarsely ground
  • 1 tablespoon lard, butter or bacon drippings
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 5 green bell peppers, chopped
  • 5 fresh Serrano chiles, chopped
  • 1 pound chorizo sausage or hot non-Italian sausage
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 tablespoons ground hot red chile
  • 4 tablespoons ground mild red chile
  • 3 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • Beer
  • Water


  1. Puree the first four ingredients plus one clove of the garlic in a blender or food processor (using the steel blade). Scrape the mixture into a large heavy pot and add the beef.
  2. Melt the lard, butter, or bacon drippings in a heavy skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add the scallions, bell peppers, serrano chiles, sausage and the remaining garlic, and cook until the onions are translucent and the sausage is browned.
  4. Place the cumin seeds in a 300 degree F oven for a few minutes until lightly browned.
  5. Remove seeds from the oven and crush them with a mallet.
  6. Stir the vegetables into the beef and tomato mixture. Add the salt ground chile, cumin, and enough water or beer to cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then lower the heat and simmer, uncovered for 4 to 6 hours.
  7. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Yield: 12 servings

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