I love this dish because it combines my two loves in life, pasta and Texas! When I think about growing up in Texas and watching football, a pot of chili was always on the stove. This version totally melds my Texas roots with my Italian love of pasta and sauce. Making it now makes me feel like I'm back at home.
Technique tip: If you are planning to serve the chili mac a tailgate, toss the cooked pasta with a little extra virgin olive oil and then move to a large plastic food storage bag for easy transport.
Texas Beef Chili
- 6 dried ancho chiles (about 1/2 cup ground)
- 6 dried pasilla chiles (about 1/2 cup ground)
- 4 pounds beef chuck roast, "chili ground" or hand-cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt, divided
- 4 tablespoons canola oil, divided
- 1 large white onion, medium dice (about 3 cups)
- 3 tablespoons finely minced fresh garlic (from about 8 cloves)
- 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, preferably fire roasted
- 2 cups spicy vegetable juice, preferably V8 brand
- 1 (12-ounce) bottle dark beer, such as Negra Modelo
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons lime juice (from 1 lime)
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1½ pounds dry elbow macaroni
- 1 recipe Texas Beef Chili (recipe above)
- 16 ounces shredded Chihuahua cheese or Monterey Jack cheese
- 16 ounces sour cream
- 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 bunch cilantro, minced
For the Texas Beef Chili:
1. Heat a cast-iron pan without oil over medium-low heat. Toast the dried chile peppers in batches while turning often, until slightly crispy and fragrant. Once cool, remove chile seeds. Break chiles into pieces, and place in food processor or blender. Process into a fine powder.
2. Place the diced meat in a large mixing bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon salt.
3. In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons canola oil. Working in batches, add the meat in an even layer and cook until browned and caramelized. Remove each batch once browned and place into a large bowl. Add additional canola oil as needed to the pan, and then add remaining meat until it's all browned.
4. Remove all meat from Dutch oven, then brown the onions and garlic in same pot. Once brown (about 5-7 minutes), add ground chilis and mix to combine. The mixture should look quite dry at this point. Add tomato paste and cook until caramelized slightly, about 3 minutes. Add cumin, dried oregano, brown sugar, remaining salt, diced tomatoes, spicy V8, beer, chicken stock and browned meat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer. Cook on low for 90 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so
5. Once the meat is tender and the chili sauce has thickened and reduced, add the lime juice and check for seasoning, adding salt to taste. Remove from the heat and reserve.
For the Chili Mac:
Fill a large pasta pot with water. Bring to a boil and add the salt. Cook the macaroni until al dente, according to the box directions. Drain the pasta in a colander in the sink; reserve.
Fill your bowls or chili crock with pasta, spoon the hot chili on top. Garnish with cheese, sour cream, scallions and cilantro.