A week ago I entered a chili cook off at work. I lost, but it wasn’t the recipe’s fault, it was mine. I chickened out, tried to make it milder, thinking that my audience might blanch at a chili with some heat. Not only was I wrong (the winning chili definitely had some burn), but I ruined my chili. It’s just no good without the heat. So by all means, check out this amazing recipe–but don’t try to make it milder. You have been warned.
On to the recipe itself. I ripped it off from another web site and simplified it a bit. I think it’s every bit as good as the original but takes less time. Different cuts of meat may be used. Anything that’s good for beef stew will probably work.
2 (16-ounce) cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
6 dried ancho chiles, stems and seeds removed, and torn into pieces
2-4 dried árbol chiles, stems and seeds removed
3 tablespoons cornmeal
2 teaspoons oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons cocoa powder
2.5 cups chicken broth
2 medium onions (2 cups)
2-3 jalapeño peppers, stems and seeds removed, cut into pieces
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed (about 4 teaspoons)
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 teaspoons light molasses
4-pound chuck roast, trimmed of fat and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
2 (12-ounce) bottles mild lager such as Budweiser, Pacifico, Amstel, Molson, Miller High Life, etc.
1. Heat oven to 300 degrees. Place ancho chiles in 12-inch skillet over medium heat; toast until fragrant, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer to food processor and cool.
2. Add árbol chiles, cornmeal, oregano, cumin, cocoa, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to food processor with toasted ancho chiles; process until finely ground, about 2 minutes. With processor running, add 1/2 cup broth until smooth paste forms, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Transfer paste to small bowl. Place onions and jalapeños in processor and pulse until roughly chopped like chunky salsa.
3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion mixture and cook until softened, 7 to 9 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add chili paste, tomatoes, and molasses; stir until chili paste is thoroughly combined. Add remaining 2 cups broth, bring to boil, then reduce heat to simmer.
4. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Pat beef dry with paper towels and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. Add half of beef and cook until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer meat to Dutch oven. Add half the beer to skillet, scraping bottom of pan to loosen any browned bits, and bring to simmer. Pour beer into Dutch oven. Repeat with remaining tablespoon oil, beef, and beer. Once all the meat has been added, return pot to a simmer.
5. Cover pot and put in oven. Drink second bottle of beer at this time. Cook until meat is fully tender, about 1.5 hours. Stir well and season to taste with salt. Let chili stand uncovered 10 minutes. Serve with whatever you like: diced sweet onion, grated cheese, sour cream, corn chips, cilantro, etc.