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Spice of Life: Cold days call for chili nights

Last Modified: Tuesday, January 15, 2013 7:47 PM

By Eric Cormier / American Press


Nothing else of the cooking life is more important at the moment.

It’s wet outside.

Bones are rattling because of the cold.

For my money, a bowl of chili is the type of meal that can force the post-holiday blues out of the mind and soul.

This week I rummaged through my cookbook collection in search of a chili recipe that just reading it would make my stomach growl and mouth water.

Quail Ridge Press has published a number of regional and state cookbooks, and one of my favorites is “Best of the Best from Texas Cookbook.”

Below you will find a recipe for Texas Chili that even though it takes two days to prepare, the finished product is worth the time and energy.

One of the ingredients that may stand out to you — because it is not a standard in Louisiana-styled chili recipes — is the usage of cornmeal.

Cornmeal — which Louisiana cooks tend to use for frying or in preparing cornbread — can also be used as a thickening agent.

Also, the slight flavor generated by the cornmeal, along with the comino gives the chili a real authentic flavor.

Sometimes a chili, without the additional seasonings, will taste bitter.

With that in mind, take your time with this recipe. All the flavors will end up fusing together and providing a layered taste. Sure, it is easy to throw a chili together in less than two hours, but if you are interested in a product that will leave you dreaming about it later, patience will be a virtue if you adhere to the directions with this masterpiece.

Texas Chili (makes 6 servings)


• 3 pounds lean beef

• 1/4 cup salad oil

• 6 cups water

• 2 bay leaves

• 6 tablespoons chili powder

• 1 tablespoon salt

• 10 cloves garlic, minced

• 1 teaspoon comino seeds

• 1 teaspoon oregano leaves, crushed

• 1/2 teaspoon red pepper

• 1/4 teaspoon pepper

• 1 tablespoon sugar

• 3 tablespoons sweet Hungarian paprika

• 1 tablespoon dried onion flakes

• 6 tablespoon cornmeal


• In a 6-quart sauce pan, sear beef (cubed or coarsely ground) in salad oil until beef color is gray, not brown. Add water, bay leaves, chili powder, salt, garlic, comino seeds, oregano, red pepper, pepper, sugar, paprika and onion flakes. Simmer, covered 2 hours. Cool.

• Refrigerate overnight so flavors will mellow. Remove top layer of solidified fat. Reheat. With a little cold water make a paste of flour and cornmeal. Add past to chili. To obtain a smooth texture, cook and stir 5-7 minutes after thickening has been added. Remove bay leaves before serving.

From “Best of the Best Texas Cookbook”


Eric Cormier writes about food every Wednesday. Contact him at or 494-4090.

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