Chili with Beef (a.k.a., Chili con Carne)
As mentioned in the post about my Le Cruset cast-iron pot, I’ve got a chili recipe that Carol and I really enjoy. It’s somewhat based on a recipe I found on All Recipes a few years ago, but I’ve modified it a bit, replacing the ground beef with nicely browned stew beef and adding a few other things here and there. If you’ve got a few hours free on a Saturday or Sunday, give this one a try!
Chili with Beef
- 2 pounds stew beef, in 1-inch cubes
- Vegetable oil
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 2 chile peppers, chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, chopped
- 3 14.5-ounce cans whole peeled tomatoes
- 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 2 tablespoons dried oregano
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 5 whole cloves
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 15-ounce can black beans
- 1 15-ounce can kidney beans
- 3 big handfuls tortilla chips, crushed
Trim the beef of any unpleasant looking fat and silverskin. Sprinkle it generously with salt and pepper. Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil to a heavy stew pot over medium high heat. You’ll want to be sure to turn on your stove hood to high now, if you can, and get out your splatter gaurd, if you have one. Browning the meat can get very messy.
Once the oil begins to shimmer, add the beef, piece by piece until you have a uncrowded single layer of beef. Allow the beef to sit for a few minutes until the side that’s facing down is dark brown, but not burned. Turn the beef and brown a second side of each piece. Remove the beef to a bowl and brown the remaining beef in similar batches, adding a little more oil between batches, if needed.
With the beef removed from the pot, turn the heat down to medium and add another tablespoon or two of oil, if needed. Add the onions and a big pinch of salt. As the onions cook, stir occasionally to scrape up the brown, beefy goodness from the bottom of the pot (a.k.a., the fond). Once the onion starts turning translucent, add the chile peppers and garlic, and cook for a few more minutes until the onions are soft.
Pour in the tomatoes and their liquid, breaking up the whole tomatoes with your fingers. (You could chop them prior to adding them, if you’d like to keep your fingers clean). Fill one of the empty tomato cans with water and add to the pot, to raise the liquid level a bit. Add another big pinch of salt and the black pepper, cumin, chili powder, paprika, oregano, cinnamon stick, and cloves. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to medium low. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes.
Stir in the beans and crushed tortilla chips and cook for another 20 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick before serving.