This is the year I am going to learn to love winter in Oregon. I am not going to complain, I am going to embrace. As much as I am inclined to tell you just how stinkin’ cold and dreary it is here right now, I’m not going to. Instead, I am going to focus on how much this chili improves a dreary day. It is spicy, hot, beefy, and smothered in cheese. So good!
This is one of those recipes that I grew up on and that my dad made sure I had before leaving the house. I don’t want you to get the image of my dad recopying it from memory or pulling a recipe card out of a neatly kept recipe box. No, no. In my house, there is a bookshelf of cookbooks and binders stuffed with recipes. Some recipes have fallen out of the binders and are lost forever. Some recipes have been misplaces, rewritten and misplaced again so that there are several copies of the recipes falling out of the pockets of the binder. There is so much good stuff hidden in those binders.
Which leads us to the great lard debate of 2012. Although we thought we had the same chili recipe, my dad uses olive oil and I use lard. He swears the recipe never included lard. I swear I would never make a change to the sacred recipe so it must have contained lard at some point. I leave it to you to decide how you want to make yours (use lard!).
1/3 cup Lard
4 lbs Beef Chuck
15 oz Nopalitos, drained
6 Serrano Peppers, seeds and membranes removed (see picture above for technique)
6 oz can of Tomato Paste
1 1/2 cup Beef Stock
5 Tbs Cumin
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black peper
Cheddar cheese for garnish
Latex gloves for handling the peppers (the juice hurts and lingers)
Smash the garlic and chop the onion into 1 inch pieces.
Heat the lard.
Cook the garlic and onion. Transfer into a large bowl.
Cube the beef into bite size pieces.
Brown the beef in three batches. Set aside each batch in the large bowl with the onion and garlic as it finishes.
Return the beef, onion, and garlic to the soup pot. Add in all the other ingredients and simmer 2 and 1/2 hours or until the beef is tender.