Recipe: Pole Line Chili


It is a chilly Saturday night. College football has been kind to my teams once again. Skies are clear and we are set for another heavy frost. What sounds a better match for the late games than a big bowl of ranch chili?

Another recipe from my Trail Boss’ Cowboy Cookbook. This one is from the Butler Ranch in Aundale, Colorado. Here is the background according to the cookbook.

Pole Line is an old line camp on this historic ranch. Primitive as it is, we gather there with friends and family to cut our Christmas trees. It is a wonderful recipe that expands to 30 people. Children enjoy it and it cooks up well on a wood burning stove.

Pole Line Chili
2 lbs. ranch beef
8-oz can tomato sauce
12-oz beer
¼ cup red chili
2 med cloves garlic, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 ¼ tsp. dried oregano
Scant ½ tsp. paprika
1 ½ tsp. ground cumin
1 ¼ tsp. salt
Pinch cayenne pepper
¾ lb. cheese, grated
1 can chili beans

Brown meat. Drain grease. Add tomato sauce, beer, ground chili, garlic, onion, oregano, paprika, 1 tsp. cumin and salt. Stir to blend. Bring to boil; lower heat and simmer 1 hour, uncovered, stirring occasionally. Taste (best part of any cooking duties!) – adjust seasonings and add cayenne and beans, simmer, uncovered for another hour. Stir in cheese, remaining cumin. Simmer ½ hour, watching that cheese does not stick.

I like heat to my chili, so added a Serrano pepper. And I cut the time approximately in half and things still turn out well. Be sure to watch that cheese does not stick. Makes a perfect, easy one-skillet chili dish for a few friends, and would make a great treat for a crowd. Serve with warm cornbread. Enjoy!

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