Chile Con Carne from Molinas

12/9/2017 – Molina’s Cantina, the oldest and one of the best Tex-Mex Restaurant in Houston, shared their famous Chili Con Carne recipe. This turned out great and got even better when warmed up a few days later. Unusual for us with no onions and no beans. The Ancho dried chiles made all the difference.

Made it with a 3.57 lb. fresh “bottom round rump roast” from HEB. Trimmed it of hard and heavy fat so it was about 3.25 lb. Increase all ingredients below by a little over 50% more but only had 10 Ancho pods. Used 1.5 tubes of saltine crackers to make the cracker meal as a box of four tubes is 16 oz. That was too much so read the notes below.


  • 8-10 Dried Chile Ancho Pods, Seeded & Deveined.
  • 2 Cloves Garlic – 1 oz. – (must be fresh)
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 tsp Oregano
  • 2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 2 pounds Chili Grind (course) Beef.  [Ground fresh with the large hand grinder and the 1/4″ die.]
  • 2 tsp Salt – [only added 1 tsp as the Saltine crackers will add a lot of salt.]
  • 4 ounces Cracker Meal. [Using Saltine Crackers. Based on the weigh on the box, 16 oz., Tom decided how much of the “tubes” to use. That turned out to be 50% to 75% too much cracker meal for us.]
  • 3 Cups Water


  1. Soak Chili Pods in hot water until soft – about 45 minutes
  2. Grind Chili Pods in processor – should be a coarse puree
  3. Brown Meat, add Chili Paste, Spices and simmer about 30 minutes
  4. Add Cracker Meal and mix well. Slowly add water until desired consistency.
  5. Simmer slowly to let it come together for a couple of hours. Better still warmed up the next day.


Next Time:

  1. Break up the peppers before soaking so when they go into the blender they will more easily turn into a “coarse puree” per the Molina’s recipe. Maybe the food processor would be better.
  2. Weigh the tubes of crackers to be sure one tube of a four-tube, 16-ounce box, actually weighs 4 ounces. If it does then reduce the cracker meal by at least 33%.
  3. Mary would add some diced stewed tomato [truly a blasphemous thought].
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