Texas Chili is like holy water for cowboys and Angels. It keeps away evil spirits and invites all things good into our lives. It warms the heart. It’s for these reasons that I love Texas Chili. God loves Texas Chili. Hell, I bet even the aliens from Zeta Reticuli love Texas Chili.
When I was younger, my mother made homemade chili from scratch using Wick Fowler 2-Alarm Chili kit. It’s a package of measured spices for chili. They used to separate the spices into little individual packets. Today, some MBA must have decided that it’s cheaper to combine all of the spices proportionately into one giant packet of spice. My list of ingredients comes from the original package.
My mother doctored up her version of Texas Chili – adding fresh vegetables and herbs .The package was merely a guide to her creativity. You can easily make this chili at home without using a package of Wick Fowler’s world famous 2-Alarm Chili kit. .Chances are that you’ll find all of these simple ingredients in your pantry, or they are readily available at your local grocer.
There are an infinite number of variations of chili. Have you ever tried Cincinnati Chili over a bowl of spaghetti noodles. Buckeye’s in Ohio revere Cincinnati Chili and I have to admit it’s a unique blend of chili. You’ll also find some unique variations in the western States, with Elk and other game used as the meat protein source. But, since I’m in Texas – Beef is king. One thing I will not debate is the great question of beans. With or Without is always the answer. It’s a personal preference issue in my humble opinion. I am planting my flag on the hill of team beans. I like to add a can of Texas Ranch Style Beans (yes, from a can) to my chili. See? I didn’t debate it. My mother added macaroni pasta because she was a child of the Great Depression, and adding pasta was an affordable method to add more volume without changing the taste. She also had to contend with two growing boys, both with empty legs, in a working class household.
I would be remiss if I didn’t say that adding a can of cream-style sweet corn in chili is perfectly acceptable. If you’re north of the Red River and find yourself in Oklahoma. And using corn flour (masa) to thicken your chili is much preferred than using corn starch. Corn flour adds a subtle taste to the flavor profile of Texas Chili and it blends really well with the other ingredients.
Some people think Chili should be served with the consistency of wonton soup. I’m not one of those people. I like my Texas Chili thick and hearty. You can pile chili on top of Frito corn chips for another variation. Texas Chili salad is a gut busting buffet item sure to please large Sunday football parties. So long as football is about sports and not virtue signaling or divisive politics. (Go Cowboys!) Just make a bowl of lettuce with some fresh diced tomatoes, sliced avocados, onions, cheese, sour cream, corn chips – and then add a ladle of chili on top. I’ve even tried chili on top of grits and eggs in the morning. It’s my very own version of Huevos Rancheros.
Why Texas Chili?
Being the spouse of a cancer survivor (as well as a cancer survivor myself) I understand that good health requires a combination of physical and mental health. One way to achieve balance is to enjoy comfort foods – foods that remind you of your mom, or your sister. Comfort food will help you relax, relieve stress, and make you happy. Granted, my wife is unable to enjoy a good bowl of chili because of the effect it has on her health condition. Even if she didn’t have severe intestinal damage due to her cancer treatment, I seriously doubt she would eat chili.
So, here is a list of Ingredients that you’ll need and were used in Wick Fowler’s original 2-Alarm Chili package, with measurements. You can add your own ingredients as you prefer – but I can guarantee that this recipe will give you a taste of Texas, wherever you hang your hat.
Texas Chili with Ranch Style Beans
- 1 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 2 tablespoons masa (to thicken it up if your chili is a bit soupy)
- 2 teaspoons dehydrated onion (1/2 cup chopped fresh onion)
- 1/2 teaspoon dehydrated garlic (1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic)
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (to taste, none if you prefer false alarm chili)
- 1/2 cup chili powder (to taste – add more or less if you prefer)
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1 can of tomato sauce
- 1 can of petite diced tomatoes (flavored if you prefer, I like garlic and olive oil)
- 1 teaspoon of honey (or sugar) to counteract the acidity of the tomatoes
- 1 can of Texas Ranch Style Beans
- 16 ounces of chicken broth or water