Chili Season! Pecos River Bowl of Red

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Pennie F. wrote in search of an old recipe for “beanless” chili that was her family’s Superbowl staple 20 years ago. We gave her our Texas Chili Con Carne recipe, but this Pecos River Bowl of Red, is another classic, slow-cooked chili. This is not a recipe to rush—the meat’s most tender and the soup’s most flavorful if you allow this chili pot to simmer for more than 2 hours.

Makes 12 servings


  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lard, butter, or bacon drippings
  • 3 pounds lean beef, ground or coarsely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons ground hot red chili, or chili powder, or more
  • 2 tablespoons ground mild red chili, or chili powder, or more
  • 1 tablespoon each: ground cumin, paprika
  • 2 chicken or beef bouillon cubes, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. Cook onion until golden in melted fat. Mix the beef with garlic, ground chili or chili powder, and cumin. Add meat to onion; cook 15 minutes, or until meat is browned. Add remaining ingredients and 3 cups water; stir well. Simmer over low heat 1 to 2 hours, until the meat is very tender and the flavors are well blended. Taste and add more seasoning, if you wish. Skim off fat, or if time allows, cool, then chill in the refrigerator. Peel off fat and discard. Then reheat to serve.

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