Cowboy Curry

cowboy chiliI found this recipe for beef brisket chili on Epicurious. Chili and cornbread is another childhood meal I remember, and it still ranks pretty high on my dad’s list of favorites. Instead of doing the regular ground meat version, this chunk chili recipe really appealed. This is the second time we’ve made it, and both times have been pretty good.

We renamed the dish cowboy curry because the result is amazingly similar to S’s dad’s beef curry, which we call oeil noir curry. Its sauce is darker, richer, and more concentrated and intense than any curry you’ve ever had. The key is in browning the onions past the point you ever thought onions could be browned. They’re not burnt, but they are black. S and I have tried to make this curry many times, with pretty passable results, but we’ll never be able to replicate it exactly. So imagine our surprise that this chili, which started from just a light saute of the onions and cooked in the oven, would resemble an oeil noir curry.

 Cowboy Curry
(kind of from

3 dried ancho chilies
Spices: 1 tb chili powder, 1 ts cumin seed, 1/2 ts dried oregano, 1/2 ts ground coriander, 1/2 ts kosher salt
3 garlic cloves; peeled
3 slices bacon; diced
2 c chopped onions (~2 large)
2 1/2 lb stew beef
10 oz can diced tomatoes with green chilies
1/2 can beer

Soak ancho chilies with a cup of boiling water in the blender for about 30 minutes. Add spices and garlic. Blend until smooth.

In a dutch oven, saute bacon until cooked. Add onions, stir, then cover for 5 minutes. Add beef to pan with salt and pepper, and stir to brown. Pour over the blender mixture. Add tomatoes and beer and bring to simmer. Cook in 350 degree oven for 2 hours covered. Stir, then continue cooking uncovered for another hour. Let cool, then cover and put in the fridge. Reheat the next day over low heat.


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