This Texas Steak Fajita Chili is filled with tender bits of juicy flat iron steak and your favorite fajita veggies - all simmered together in a hearty chili that is sure to please a crowd!
I've been blogging about recipes for over 4 years now, and it may surprise you that there has yet to be a chili recipe posted. You would think that with my southern meets Texas food heritage, chili would be something that is referenced rather often on SC! But the truth of the matter is, chili is a very delicate subject when it is an integral part of your foodie heritage!
My dad has always made a "special chili" that he loves to serve when we come home for the holidays. It's so special and amazing that he has won chili cookoffs for his secret recipe! Friends and family that span many states know of this chili and it's very distinctive flavor. Dad uses a mixture of grilled steak and ground beef, red kidney beans, and a special seasoning blend that I have yet to get "just right." And honestly, I'm ok if I never replicate it perfectly, because I know he still takes a lot of pride in being able to serve his dietitian-chef daughter something only HE can make!
But then there's the other side of my family - Ryan and his family - who rave over the "special chili" that Ryan made them all one Christmas when he was still single. He's made a name for himself with his "Texas" version of chili and was rather hesitant to let me help in making it when we were first married.
However, I have managed to get my hands on a written recipe for Ryan's chili and my dad's chili. And when I make one of the versions, it doesn't taste exactly like there it would if they had made it. But I've morphed the two chilis into my own version, and I'm finally ready to share it with you! I know both sides of my family will enjoy it - but will likely have their own opinion about how it compares to Ryan's chili and Dad's chili. But hey, when it's on me to be in the kitchen and get food on the table, we are gonna do things my way!
My recipe for steak chili is a nod to both Dad's and Ryan's recipe in that it calls for steak. Flat iron steak is a lean and tender cut from the shoulder of a cow. It has an amazing beefy flavor and a texture that literally melts in your mouth. If you can't find flat iron steak, use a chuck shoulder roast and cut it into bite-sized pieces before cooking.
The steak chili is steak only - no ground beef. In Texas, chili is typically made with little-to-no beans. But this chili has just a twist of Tex-Mex, so we are throwing in a can of black beans with traditional fajita seasonings for flavor. I like a bean mixture, so as a nod to my dad's chili, I also include a can of red chili beans. I've found that a bottle of Mexican beer gives the chili a really rich depth of flavor, and does a great job at deglazing the bottom of your pot once the steak has been browned.
I've included options for cooking the chili slowly in a Dutch oven over a few hours and cooking it in a crock-pot or slow cooker. The Dutch oven is my preference because the low and slow simmer with the lid slightly ajar results in thickened chili with a rich, velvety texture. But keep in mind, this recipe is perfect for a crockpot as well. Chili always tastes better the next day, so I try to make this a day or two ahead of when I plan to serve it, or plan way in advance and make batches to freeze for later!
Are you ready to get make this Texas Steak Chili recipe? Good! I’m so excited. Once you get the chance to make it, please let me know how it turns out for you!
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Texas Steak Fajita Chili
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 pounds flat iron steak, cut into thin strips ½’’ thick and 1’’ long
- Kosher salt
- Ground pepper
- ½ cup diced onion, about ½ an onion
- 1 whole red bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 whole green bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 12-ounce bottle of Mexican beer (can swap out with beef stock)
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 ½ teaspoons ancho chili powder
- 2 28-ounce cans diced tomatoes in juice
- 1 ½ cups beef stock
- 1 15-ounce can no salt added black beans, drained
- 1 15-ounce can no salt added red kidney beans, drained
- Garnish: fresh lime wedges, sliced avocado, shredded cheese, tortilla chips
- Place a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the olive oi. Season the steak strips with salt and pepper. Working in two batches, saute the steak, stirring often, until lightly seared, about 3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the steak to a plate and set aside.
- Add the onions and peppers to the pot, sauteing for 3-4 minutes until slightly softened. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add the beer in a slow stream while stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pot. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, oregano, paprika, and ancho chile powder.
- Return the steak to the pot with any accumulated juices. Stir in the tomatoes and beef stock.
- Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat and reduce to a simmer over low heat. Place a lid slightly ajar on the pot and simmer for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally, until the steak is tender and the chili has reduced by about ¼. During the last ½ hour of cooking, stir in the beans.
- Serve the hot chili with fresh lime juice squeezed on top, avocado slices, and tortilla chips.
- The chili will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. Freeze for up to 6 months.
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This is almost exactly the way I make my chili; I could make it without needing to read the recipe. Since I like it spicy, my only modification is to substitute two jalapeno peppers for one of the bell peppers. I much prefer chili made with steak over ground beef.
Whitney Reist says
Wonderful - thanks for trying the recipe!