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All-Beef Texas Chili

Yield: 12 Servings

1/3 c (approximately) corn oil
6 lb beef chuck -- in 1/2-inch
1 cubes
1 c onion,Minced
1/3 c garlic,Minced
3 c (approximately) beef broth
3 c flat beer
1 1/2 c water
1/4 c high-quality chili powder
1 or more --,To Taste
6 lb tomatoes (three 2 lb. cans)
1 drained and,Chopped
1/3 c tomato paste
1 1/2 T fresh oregano,Minced
3 T cumin seed
1 salt --,To Taste
1 cayenne pepper --,To Taste
1 masa harina (or cornmeal --)

1. In a large heavy skillet over moderately high heat, warm 3 tablespoons of the oil. Brown beef in batches, adding more oil as necessary and transferring meat with a slotted spoon to a large stockpot when well browned. Do not crowd skillet.
2. Reduce heat to moderately low. Add onion and garlic and saute until softened (about 10 minutes). Add to stockpot along with broth, beer, the water, chili powder, tomato, tomato paste, and oregano.
3. In a small skillet over low heat, toast cumin seed until fragrant; do not allow to burn. Grind in an electric minichopper or with a mortar and pestle. Add to stockpot.
4. Over high heat bring mixture to a simmer. Add salt, cayenne, and more chili powder to taste. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook, partially covered, until beef is tender (about 1-1/2 hours). Check occasionally and add more broth if mixture seems dry. If chili is too thin when meat is tender, stir in up to 2 tablespoons masa harina. Cook an additional 5 minutes to thicken. Serve chili hot.

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