Call it a Western Party, a Cowboy Party, or just an excuse to cook up a pot of chili, at Shindigz we have everything you need at our Western Party Store and Candace shares her recipe.
When I lived in Texas, the common wisdom was that real, authentic chili—called a “bowl of red”—did not contain any beans. The only ingredients allowed were meat (beef or pork) and chili peppers stewed together with spices. Usually, Texas chili is hot enough to make steam come out of your ears!
But I grew up in California and learned to make my chili with beans and tomatoes—and red wine. I think the added ingredients provide flavor and texture, not to mention nutrition.
Chili makes a great party dish. You can make it well ahead of time—in fact, chili is better reheated because it gives the flavors a chance to meld. I like to serve it in a crockpot set on warm and surround it with dishes of what my grandma used to call “go-withs” set out buffet-style so guests can help themselves. Good go-withs for chili are sour cream, chopped raw onions, grated cheese, corn chips, sliced jalapenos, and cilantro.
Cowboy Chili for a Crowd Recipe
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 lbs. ground beef
- 2 large onions, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 2 – 3 lbs. ripe, juicy tomatoes, chopped (or equivalent in canned tomatoes; five to six, 8 ounce cans)
- 1 can tomato paste (12 – 15 ounce)
- 1 – 2 cup beef broth (homemade, if possible)
- 1 cup red wine (optional)
- 4 – 6 tablespoons chili powder (depending on your tolerance for heat)
- 4 teaspoons ground cumin
- 3 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 -2 teaspoons pepper, depending on taste
- 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
- Two cans kidney beans (19 ounce each), rinsed and drained
Coat the bottom of a large heavy-bottomed sauce pan with olive oil, heat to medium-high and cook ground beef, garlic, and onion, stirring until beef is well-browned, about ten minutes. Drain well. Add chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, 1 cup of the beef broth, wine (if using), and all of the spices. Stir to blend and reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about an hour, adding more beef broth if the liquid gets too low. Add kidney beans and salt, stir to blend, and cook 15 minutes longer. Remove from heat and refrigerate until ready to use.
To serve, reheat chili in a crockpot and surround it with the go-withs.
Serves 12 – 16.
Candace Schuler comes from a long line of foodies.Her grandmother taught her about planting, preserving, and cooking whole foods. Her father was a professional chef who taught her all about the importance of presentation and how to cook for big crowds. Her brothers have spent years in the restaurant business, and she and her sister constantly trade recipes via email for everything from fermented fruit kimchee to the perfect cheesecake.
Candace is also a professional writer, which, she says, makes writing about party-worthy recipes for Shindigz the perfect gig. Contact her at www.CandaceSchuler.com