The best chili recipe ever to come from my kitchen, guys! I know, I know, it's a huge claim. I think I'm picky about chili. This recipe has 2 things that make it unique: tender, fall-apart shredded beef instead of ground beef, and Mexican Masa Harina. The smell of this chili simmering may actually knock you out.
Begin by browning the meat. Dry off the beef with paper towels if it is very wet. Sprinkle all over with a generous amount of salt and pepper.
Heat a large, high sided skillet over medium high heat. Add about 1 tablespoon oil and swirl to coat.
Brown the meat in batches. Place each piece in the skillet with about an inch of space around it. Do not crowd the meat or they will steam each other, which will not give you that sear you are going for. Sear=flavor! After 1-2 minutes, when it is nice and brown on the bottom, use tongs to flip each piece of beef. Sear the other side for another 1 minute or so, until brown.
Remove the beef to a large crock pot. Continue searing the rest of the beef, adding more oil to the pan as necessary. Adjust the heat lower if the pan starts to get black on the bottom, but keep it above medium.
Once all the beef is seared, add more oil to the pan if there is not enough, you need about a tablespoon. Add the chopped onion and celery. (Turn the heat off and remove the pan from the heat if your veggies are not chopped yet.)
Saute the onions and celery over medium high heat for about 5 minutes, until they start to soften. They should be all brown and delicious looking, picking up all that beef flavor.
Add 6 cloves of minced garlic and 2 chopped jalapenos.
Add chili powder, cayenne pepper, cumin seed (or powder), oregano, garlic powder, and brown sugar.
Stir it all together and let the spices toast into the veggies for a couple minutes.
Add the beef broth and scrape up the bottom of the pan.
Slowly pour in 1/4 cup of masa harina, stirring constantly. Break up any lumps right away.
Pour the mixture into the crock pot.
Add 2 tablespoons tomato paste, the can of crushed tomatoes, 2 cans of drained kidney beans, and 3 bay leaves to the crock pot. Stir it all together.
Put the lid on the crock pot and cook on high for 6 hours, or low for 8-10 hours. The longer you leave it in, the better, because the beef will just get more tender and delicious.
When it's time to eat, use a wooden spoon to break up the chunks of beef. Or you could remove it to a plate and shred with a fork, then return to the pot.
Serve with sour cream, cheddar cheese, finely chopped onions, and cilantro.
*Use 3 medium onions if you're not sure you can find ones that are very big. Don't skimp on onions, they are everything in chili!!**This was my first time using cumin seed. It's really good! But ground cumin will also work great, use the same amount. I found cumin seeds in the produce section of my grocery store, where they have a Latin spices section (much cheaper!)***As usual, I used 4 cups water and 4 teaspoons Better Than Bouillon Beef Base.****Masa Harina is a finely ground corn flour, used to make corn tortillas. It adds the best corny flavor! It is optional, but I highly recommend it. I adapted this recipe from my girl Natalie at Perry's Plate, who adapted it from Emeril LaGasse.