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Grand-prize Chili

1/4 cup vegetable oil

3 pounds beef chuck or round, cut into 1/4-inch chunks or very coarsely ground

1 onion, peeled and finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon paprika

5 to 6 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled

1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce

1 teaspoon salt

1 jalapeño chili, seeded and halved, or 1 teaspoon cayenne (optional)

3 cups cooked pinto beans

Finely minced onion

Grated cheddar cheese

Over medium-high heat, heat the oil in a large heavy pot or Dutch oven. Add the beef in 2 or 3 batches and cook until it is evenly browned. Add all the beef back into the pot, along with the onion and garlic, and sauté until the onion is translucent.

Add the paprika, chili powder, cumin and oregano and stir for 3 minutes to cook the spices. Add the tomato sauce, salt and 1 cup water; stir to combine. Add the jalapeño or cayenne.

Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer, covered, over low heat for 2 hours, stirring occasionally and adding more water as needed, up to 1 cup. To serve, place some cooked pinto beans in the bottom of bowls and ladle in the chili. Sprinkle with chopped onion and cheese.

The chili can be made up to 3 days in advance, and it freezes extremely well.

NOTE: To cook pinto beans, place 2 cups dried beans in a colander and wash under cold water, picking over them well to discard any pebbles, broken beans or beans that are shriveled or discolored. Place the beans in a large pot and fill it with hot water 4 inches above the level of the beans. Add 2 slices uncooked bacon, bring the mixture to a boil, and simmer covered for 3 to 31/2 hours. Add water as necessary, 1 cup at a time, to keep the beans covered. For the last hour of cooking, uncover the pot to allow the juices to thicken and add salt and pepper. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Recipe from "Southwest Tastes" (from the PBS television series "Great Chefs of the West"), by Ellen Brown.