Getting ready for the Super Bowl? Here’s a pot of Texas Red to serve with the big game.
Now, I’m getting lazy in my old age; I would rather pressure cook chili for 30 minutes than simmer it for 4 hours. I know this will get me in trouble with the Texas chili purists, because chili should ALWAYS be cooked in a cast iron dutch oven hung over a post oak fire. Me? I want to free up time so I can…watch the endless pre-game show. 1
Laziness aside, I do have a good argument for the pressure cooker; it helps me make chili the day before I want to eat it. This is a great chili hot out of the pot, but chili is always better the next day; that overnight rest and reheating does something good.“It lets the flavors marry”, is the traditional explanation. (I have no idea what that actually means, but it describes the results perfectly.) If you have the time – and the pressure cooker buys me the time – make this chili a day ahead. Your patience will be rewarded.
No pressure cooker? No worries. See “related recipes”, at the bottom of the recipe for stove top and slow cooker versions of this recipe.
Newfangled Pressure Cookers aside, this is a pretty straightforward chili recipe. I do use two additional tricks:
Trick 1: only brown the beef on one side. This trick I learned from Kenji Alt – I get browned fond on the bottom of the pot, and a sear on the beef, both of which add depth of flavor. By not browning the beef on all sides, I get more tender chunks of beef when the cooking is done, and the browning step goes much quicker. (Again with quicker. Maybe I’m not getting lazy in my old age; maybe I’m getting impatient? But I digress.)
Trick 2: the thickening. The sealed pressure cooker environment is good for trapping flavor and cooking quickly, but it doesn’t allow any evaporation. That means the liquid in the pot tends towards soupy instead of a thick chili. I do two things to fight this. The first is I cut back on added liquids – my favorite cooker, the Instant Pot, has a 1 1/2 cup minimum liquid amount, so I use a cup of liquid (coffee or beer), plus a can of crushed tomatoes to get above the minimum liquid amount. The next trick is to thicken after cooking. I whisk a quarter cup of masa harina – Mexican corn tortilla flour – into some of the cooking liquid, then stir the masa slurry back into the pot, and let it simmer for a few more minutes to thicken up.
Looking for a pressure cooker Texas chili? You’ve come to the right place. Even if I’m not from Texas.
Video: Pressure Cooker Texas Chili – Time Lapse [YouTube.com]
Recipe: Pressure Cooker Texas Red Chili
Adapted from: International Chili Society winning recipes, 1989 to 1993
- 6 quart or larger pressure cooker (I love my Instant Pot electric PC)
Pressure Cooker Texas Red Chili. A bowl of Texas red, pressure cooker style.
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 5 pounds beef chuck roast, cut into 2 inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 medium onions, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 minced chipotles en adobo, with sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup chili powder
- 2 tablespoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons oregano (preferably Mexican oregano)
- 1 cup coffee (or water, or beer)
- 14.5 ounce can crushed tomatoes (preferably fire roasted crushed tomatoes)
- 1/4 cup masa harina
- Juice of 2 limes
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Brown the beef: (on one side, working in batches – 3 batches for my instant pot.) Heat the oil in the pressure cooker pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. Sprinkle the beef with 1 tablespoon kosher salt. Brown the beef in two to three batches, depending on the size of your pressure cooker – you don’t want to crowd the pot, or the beef will steam instead of browning. Brown each batch on one side, about five minutes, then remove to a bowl with a slotted spoon, leaving as much fat behind as possible.
- Saute the aromatics, toast the spices, deglaze the pan with coffee: Add the onions and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt to the pressure cooker. Saute the onions until softened, about 5 minutes, scraping with a wooden spoon to release the browned beef bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the garlic cloves and chipotle en adobo, and saute for one minute. Make a hole in the middle of the aromatics, and add the chili powder, cumin, and oregano. Cook for one minute, or until fragrant, then stir the spices into the onions. Pour in the cup of coffee and scrape the bottom of the pot again to release any browned onions or spices.
- Stir everything into the pot: Pour the beef (and any juices in the bowl) into the pressure cooker, and then the crushed tomatoes. Stir until the beef is coated in tomatoes and spices, then scrape the bottom of the pot one last time to make sure nothing is sticking.
- Pressure cook on high for 25 minutes (30 in electric PC) with natural pressure release: Lock the lid on the pressure cooker, increase the heat to high, and bring the cooker up to high pressure. (Check your pressure cooker manual for how to do this). Cook at high pressure for 25 minutes for a stove top pressure cooker, 30 minutes for an electric PC. Let the pressure come down naturally, about 20 minutes. Remove the lid, tilting it away from you to avoid the hot steam.
- Overnight Rest (Optional, but a good idea): If you have the time: Let the chili cool to room temperature, cover, and refrigerate overnight. The next day, scrape the fat from the surface of the chili, and bring the chili back to a simmer over medium heat, scraping the bottom occasionally.
- Thicken with masa harina, taste for seasoning and serve: Ladle 2 cups of liquid from the pot into a bowl, add the lime juice, and whisk the masa harina into the liquid. Pour the masa-thickened liquid back into the pot, stir, then taste for seasoning. Add salt until the chili stops tasting bitter; I usually add 2 teaspoons of kosher salt, but it depends on how much salt was in the can of tomatoes. Serve the chili straight up, or with green onions (pictured), diced onions, sour cream, shredded cheese, minced cilantro, hot sauce, tortilla chips, pickled jalapenos…whatever you like as toppings for your chili.
- Cooking for a crowd? If you have an 8 quart (or, even better, a massive 10 or 12 quart pressure cooker), you can double this recipe.
- To speed up searing the beef, do one batch in the pressure cooker, and another in a skillet on the stove. Deglaze the skillet with the coffee, scraping the browned bits of beef into the liquid, then pour from the skillet into the pot when the onions are done.
- Two chipotles en adobo add quite a burn to the chili. Cut back to one chipotle to reduce the heat, or no chipotles to wimp out for a mild chili.
- Can’t find chipotles en adobo? Substitute two fresh jalapeno peppers, minced.
- Can’t find Masa Harina? Substitute two cups of tortilla chips, crushed to a powder in a blender or food processor.
What do you think?
Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
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