Cookbook:Pedernales River Chili
Pedernales River Chili was American President Lyndon Johnson's favorite chili con carne recipe. It was named after the location of his Texas Hill Country ranch. The recipe calls for leaving out the traditional beef suet (on doctor's orders after his heart attack while he was U.S. Senate Majority Leader) and also adds tomatoes and onions. LBJ preferred venison, when available, over beef; Hill Country deer were thought to be leaner than most. Lady Bird Johnson, the First Lady, had it printed up on cards as a mail-out because of the many thousands of requests the White House received for the recipe.
The recipe is originally from Zephyr Wright, the Johnson's family cook.
- 4 lbs (1.8 kg) coarse-ground meat, venison preferred
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano (preferable to fresh oregano, which grows wild in central Texas)
- 1 teaspoon powdered cumin
- 6 teaspoons chili powder (or more, to taste)
- 2 cans (16-oz./500g) whole tomatoes
- salt to taste
- 2 cups (470 mL) hot water