Monday, April 1, 2013

OMG! Two-Beef Chili with Beans

Chili purists might shake their heads at this chili recipe with its shredded beef, tomatoes, and beans!!! Oh yes, beans vs. no beans can generate a heated discussion over what constitutes a proper bowl of red. Real Texas chili would never include tomatoes or beans, but we're a long way from Texas. Chili is really all about the meat, cooked low and slow, flavored with a variety of chile peppers and assorted spices. Beans? sometimes I cook the beans separately, serving them on the side. RL favors beans cooked along with the meat and spices, so that's a more frequent choice. Tomatoes? yes, please, and occasionally shreds of chocolate. Chili handles a lot of variations, but it's always accompanied with a variety of flavorful toppings, the "fixins and mixing" that suit each individual taste. 

Chili with beans was a hit this week. RL was not home for supper so neighbor SalmonBetty and I sampled the latest batch. We relaxed in her family room, watching "Dancing with the Stars" and enjoyed chili and conversation. The recipe was declared a keeper, one of my best versions yet. While the ingredients were typical, the method was a bit different. 

Many recipes involve roasting dried chilies, making a chili slurry, and browning cubes of meat before simmering away for hours. This method, adapted from a Tyler Florence cookbook, was a simpler preparation that still produced wonderful flavor. Add big chunks of chuck roast to a stew pot, not bite-sized little cubes that will dry out during the long simmer. Cover with water and skim off the foam that rises as the water comes to a boil. The foam (albumin) released by raw meat is neither tasty nor attractive, so this step is important. Add most of the remaining ingredients and simmer uncovered for two hours or more. Pull the meat apart when it's really tender and return it to the pot along with some ground beef or crumbled sausage, your choice of cooked beans and a tablespoon or two of masa. Simmer partially covered for another hour and you're almost done. The flavors blend and mellow deliciously if you let the chili rest, even refrigerate overnight, and reheat to serve on day two. But if you're not that patient, the chili is definitely tasty on the day that it's cooked.

OMG! Two-Beef Chili with Beans
approx 6 servings

3 pounds chuck roast, cut into large cubes (2 1/2" to 3" at least)
salt and freshly ground pepper
1.5 quarts water (more as needed)
1 medium onion, diced
5 large garlic cloves, peeled & halved
2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo, minced
1 Tablespoon ground coriander
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
1 Tablespoon Mexican oregano
scant 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon ground chipotle chili powder
1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
1 (14-ounce) can whole tomatoes
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 pound lean ground beef (or crumbled chorizo)
3 (14-ounce) cans red beans, rinsed & drained
1 Tablespoon Masa Harina or cornmeal

Serve with Assorted Optional Toppings: 2 cups shredded cheddar, diced avocado, fresh cilantro, sour cream or Greek yogurt, diced green onions, tortilla chips
  1. Generously season the beef cubes with salt and pepper and place in a large heavy-bottomed kettle. Add enough water to cover them by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over medium heat, skimming off the foam as it rises to the surface. Add the next 12 ingredients, diced onion through tomato paste, and return the mixture to a boil.
  2. Lower the heat to a slow, low simmer and cook until the meat is so tender it comes apart with no resistance when you poke it with a fork, about 2 hours. Stir occasionally and add water if necessary to keep the meat covered. When the meat is really tender, remove it from the pot and use two forks or your fingers to pull it apart into shreds and small chunks. Return to the pot, along with any juices.
  3. Crumble the ground beef and add to the pot, stirring in to mix. Add the rinsed and drained beans and the masa, mixed with a few tablespoons of water. Return to a low simmer and cook for 1 more hour, stirring occasionally. Partially cover the cooking pot during this final hour, giving the steam room to escape and not condense and run back down into the chili. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
  4. Chili benefits from tempering, so let the pot cool and give the flavors a chance to bloom and blend. An overnight rest in the fridge is recommended, but not essential. Offer a variety of toppings for each diner to personalize their bowl of red - these "fixins and mixins" can make all the difference between ordinary chili and OMG great chili.


  1. This is so delectable! I would dig right into it!

    1. Katerina, you're invited to join us for a bowl of red. Your recent meat pie post tempts me to try a chili pie soon, though I will most likely choose a cornbread crust rather than phyllo dough.


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