Irvin Gann's Chili Recipe

My uncle Irvin used to be the manager at Prince of Hamburgers on Lemmon Ave. in Dallas - the oldest continuously operating hamburger stand in the U.S. One day he passed down his chili recipe to me. He was used to making it in such vast quantities that he started out, "First, you take 200 lbs. of beef - wait a minute, I guess I better divide it for you." This is true Texas chili - no beans, no tomatoes, thick as a brick and not like some watery, pusillanimous Yankee tomato soup. Cumin is absolutely essential to the flavor, and you don't want to overdo the garlic, because it will quickly overwhelm the other spices.

5 lbs. coarse-ground beef
1 cup flour or a little more
3-4 tbsp. corn oil
1 tbsp. salt
3 tbsp. crushed garlic
4 tbsp. ground cumin
7 tbsp. paprika
7 tbsp. ground chili peppers (or chili powder)
1 tbsp. cayenne pepper or as much as you can stand

Put the corn oil in a big pot and heat it. Add the beef and slow-cook 90 minutes until partly done, then mix in the flour, stirring occasionally until everything is cooked. Once it's done, let sit ten minutes and then add all the spices and stir them in thoroughly. Take the chili off the stove. When serving, fine-grated cheese and a little diced onions on top are a really good idea. Let cool before freezing. I used to put in three or four spoonfuls of cayenne and make it so hot I'd get a skin reaction and couldn't even walk the next day, honest to god. - KG

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If you feel so moved, e-mail me at kgann@earthlink.net

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