Beef & Bean Chili

Beef & Bean Chili

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Makes: 10 servings

Prep: 30 mins

Cook: 1 hr 15 mins

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 pounds lean ground beef chuck
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1/3 cup ancho chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • Coarse salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can (15 oz.) tomato sauce
  • 2 cans (15 oz. each) red kidney beans, drained
  • Sour cream, grated cheddar, pickled jalapeno chiles and sliced scallions for topping
  1. In a large dutch oven, heat the oil over high heat. Working in batches, brown the beef for 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
  2. Pour off all but 2 tbsp. of fat from the pot. Add the onions and stir over medium-low heat until soft, 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and 3 cups water, scraping the pan. Return the meat to the pot. Stir in the chile powder, cumin, oregano, 1 tbsp. coarse salt, 1 1/2 tsp. pepper and the cayenne; cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and tomato sauce. Cook, stirring, for 40 minutes.
  3. Skim the fat from the surface. Stir in the beans and cook for 5 minutes. Serve with the toppings.
Variation Chicken & Corn
  • Omit the beef, tomatoes and tomato sauce. Add 1 qt. chicken broth and 2 chopped red potatoes to the onions. Simmer until tender, 10 minutes. Add 3 cups corn, 1 can chopped chiles and 1 1/2 cups chopped raw chicken; simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in 1 cup heavy cream and 2 cups shredded jack cheese. Top with oyster crackers and chives.
Variation Chicken Curry
  • Omit the beef. Add grated ginger to onions. Swap 1/2 tsp. each turmeric and garam masala for the oregano. After simmering the chili (40 minutes), stir in a chopped potato and 1 1/2 cups water; cover and cook, 10 minutes. Add 2 cups chopped raw chicken; replace kidney beans with chickpeas. Simmer for 20 minutes. Top with yogurt and chopped cilantro.
Variation Mushroom & Black Bean
  • Soak 2 ancho chiles in a bowl of boiling water for 30 minutes. Drain; reserve 1/4 cup soaking liquid. Stem and seed the chiles. Using a blender, puree the chiles, reserved liquid and 2 cloves garlic. Replace the beef with 2 lbs. portobello mushrooms, chopped. Add ancho chile puree. Replace the kidney beans with black beans. Serve with corn chips and lime wedges.
Variation Veggie Harvest
  • Omit the beef. Dice 3 zucchini (about 1 1/2 lbs.) into bite-size pieces. Stem, seed and chop 3 multicolored bell peppers; reserve 1/4 cup. Cook the vegetables as you would ground beef. Stir in 1/3 cup chopped cilantro at the end. Top with the reserved bell peppers.
Variation Pork Posole
  • Replace the beef with ground pork; use jarred salsa verde in place of the tomatoes and tomato sauce. When adding salsa, stir in 2 cups crushed unsalted tortilla chips; simmer as directed. Replace the kidney beans with canned hominy (reserve 2 tbsp). Top with the reserved hominy and whole tortilla chips.
Variation Shredded Beef
  • Replace the beef with well-trimmed chuck cut into small cubes. Add 1 extra cup water. Cover and simmer until the beef shreds, about 1 1/2 hours. Replace the kidney beans with pinto beans; add 1 tbsp. chopped chipotles in adobo. Top with shredded cheddar and fresh jalapenos.
Variation Beefy Chorizo
  • Before adding the beef to the pan, add 1 lb. sliced fresh chorizo and cook for 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Stir in 1 can (15 oz.) tomatillo sauce with the tomatoes. Add the chorizo back to the pan, using more water if needed to thin the chili. Top with chopped avocado and red onion.
Variation Pork & Butter Bean
  • Replace the beef with ground pork. When you add water, toss in a pinch of saffron. Replace the kidney beans with butter beans. Top with cilantro leaves and coarsely chopped toasted almonds.
Variation Mexican Chocolate
  • Replace the ancho chile powder with 1 tbsp. each ground cinnamon and cayenne and the seeds of 1 vanilla bean. After the chili is prepared, turn off the heat and stir in 1 cup chopped dark chocolate until fully melted. Top with crumbled cotija cheese and toasted pepita seeds.