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This beef chili recipe, both hearty and delicious, is one to remember. And while we make it with ground beef and beans, you can easily substitute in for ground chicken, Texas-style chunks of meat, or even go vegetarian. But whatever meat or veggie you choose to include, the same rule applies to all: sear your meat or veggies properly before adding in your liquids.
So what really makes this recipe stand out from the other chili recipes is its methodology. Throwing all the ingredients together into one big pot (or slow cooker) is a big mistake when making chili, as most of the flavor actually comes from the browning. Browning the garlic, followed by the onion, followed by the beef. Each ingredient must be fully browned before the next one is added.
And equally important: let your chili simmer for two to three hours, adding boiling stock or beer (or both) as needed. You want to give the flavors time to meld together into perfection. So trust us, there are no shortcuts for truly outstanding chili.
Similarly, if possible you will want to make your own chili powder. After all, they are all spices you are likely to have in your cupboard already: paprika, oregano, cumin, chipotle, garlic and cayenne. It will always be better than if store-bought. Plus, you can adjust the spiciness to your level. Go easy with the cayenne pepper if you prefer a milder take.
This is also one of those rare recipes where canned tomatoes somehow always work better than fresh ones. So pick a combination of chopped and pureed tomatoes. Meanwhile, for the beans you can either go canned or homemade. And feel free to use either a combination of kidney and black beans, or pick your favorite.
One last tip before you get cooking: if possible make it one day ahead of time. Chili really is always best the day after, as you are giving the flavors even more time to meld together into perfection. And don’t forget your favorite toppings: tortilla chips or cornbread, sour cream (or Greek yogurt for a healthier take), avocado, fresh parsley, onion, and even some cheddar will do.
Number of Servings: 4
Ready in Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2-3 hours
2 tablespoons olive oil (or cooking oil of choice)
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 large onion, skinned and finely chopped
1 pound ground beef
1-2 pickled chipotle chili, seeded and diced + 1 tablespoon of juice
1-2 pickled jalapeño chili, seeded and diced
1 14-ounce can of chopped tomatoes
1 14-ounce can tomato puree
2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder *
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 8-ounce can of black beans, drained
1 8-ounce can of kidney beans, drained
1/4 – 1/2 cup beef stock or beer (or both)
1 tablespoon paprika
3 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4-1 teaspoons chipotle powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Tip: If possible, try making your chili one day ahead. As second-day chili really is always best.