texas style chilli con carne a la perrin

4 lbs chuck (I used grass fed marin sun farms from bbowl). 
6 slices bacon
4 T whole cumin seeds
4 T ancho chili powder
3 T new mexico chile powder 
4 t salt. 
4 cups water (rough estimate)


Cut chuck into 1" cubes (approximately).  Or course grind in a sausage
maker.  Don't trim the chuck - use all the fat, gnarly bits, etc.  In
the long braising process all the connective tissue will break down
into gelatin, which makes a "sauce".

Mix salt and chili powders together.


Preheat oven to 300 (or 250, or 200), see below;

Use a dutch oven (this is a one pot meal). Cast iron is best.  The pot
needs to be oven safe.

Cook the bacon in the dutch oven over medium-low heat (this is
important, most people burn bacon by cooking it over high heat.  since
bacon is cured with sugar, medium low heat is much better).  This
takes at least 10 minutes.  cook bacon until very crispy, or how you
like it (all we want is the fat...). when bacon is ready, remove bacon
from pan and dry on paper towels.  Eat the Bacon!  Keep either all the
bacon fat in the pan, or leave at least 2 T.

Turn up the heat to high. Brown the beef cubes in batches (couple of
minutes each batch).  After every batch, put the beef into a bowl.

After all beef is browned, "toast" the whole cumin seeds on the bottom
of the dutch oven.  stir. dont burn. about 2 minutes.  when cumin is
toasted, put meat + all juices back into dutch oven, and add the
salt/chili powder mixture and the water.  stir well, to completely
de-glace dutch oven.  Bring water up to a simmer (DO NOT BOIL).

Once water is simmering, put dutch oven in oven (with lid on). If lid
doesn't seal well, wrap lid in aluminum foil.

If you are cooking for two hours, heat oven to 350. Stir once.  If
cooking for 6 hours, heat oven to 250 (this is what I did - the meat
is more tender this way).  If cooking 12 hours, put
oven at 200; every couple of hours, stir, and make sure that there is
still some water left.  The longer you cook, the "smoother" and more
tender the chili will be.

Note - you will have to adjust seasoning depending on how hot your
chili powder's are and how hot you want the chili to be.  

You can't really ruin this dish. cooking times are approximate - cook
until tender...  also, you can make it, and then refrigerate it for
days (in the dutch oven), and then just re-heat over low heat.

Instead of water, you can use light beer (traditional in texas) or 
red wine (as traditional in france) as the
braising liquid.  If using beer, you need more chili powder, since the beer
makes the chili slightly bitter.  If using red wine, don't use cumin and pepper
instead of chili powder. 
(brought to you by chef slurping lizard)