This chili recipe comes from a collection of my dad’s recipes, which he’d printed out from a vintage-1990 computer and bound with a plastic book-report-style cover and given to me and my sister the Christmas before he died. He liked the chili made popular by Wick Fowler — a newspaper columnist and humorist from Austin who took top prize in the Terlingua International Chili Championship in 1970. (It’s a big one in Texas, held each year near Big Bend, and Fowler later marketed a grocery store kit, called Wick Fowler’s Two-Alarm Chili.)
Wick Fowler’s Two-Alarm Chili
You can use half the amount of cayenne pepper for One-Alarm chili or omit it for False Alarm Chili.
2 pounds ground beef
1 1/4 teaspoons cayenne pepper
8 tablespoons Gebhardt’s chili powder (or substitute another brand)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 (8-ounce can) tomato sauce
2 (8-ounce cans) water
1 1/2 tablespoons dried onion
1 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons salt
4 teaspoons masa harina mixed with water to form a smooth paste
Brown meat. Add cayenne, chili powder, cumin, tomato sauce, water, onion, paprika and salt. Cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Skim fat off the top. Add masa harina paste. Stir and cook 1/2 hour more.
Serves 4 to 6.