Chili remains one of the most popular dishes in the country, but there seems to be no consensus about what defines it except for the presence, in some form, of chile peppers. To many people, beans are what first leap to mind when chili comes up, but I’ve never been a big fan of the pintos and other red beans that people tend to use.
This recipe is beanless. It is also fairly hot, but sour cream can help tame the heat. I tend to garnish this chili with sour cream, cheddar cheese, chives or scallions, fresh jalapenos, and maybe some chopped cilantro.
Chili, like all stews, tastes better a day or two after it is first made.
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 medium white (Mexican) onions, chopped
- 10 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 pounds beef chuck, trimmed and cut into small cubes
- 5 tablespoons medium-hot chili powder (we use Penzey's medium)
- 1 tablespoon ground ancho chile
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
- 2 teaspoons cayenne
- 2 fresh jalapeños, seeded and chopped
- 4 cups beef stock
- 1 to 2 tablespoons masa harina
- freshly ground black pepper
- Heat oil in a Dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed pot.
- Add onions and cook for a few minutes.
- Once onions have begun to give off a fair amount of water, add garlic. Cook until soft, about 10 minutes.
- Season beef with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Add beef to onions and stir until coated with onions and garlic. Cook until most of the pink is gone. (The beef won't really brown because of the water from the onions.)
- When the beef is only about half pink, put the chili powder, ground ancho, cumin, oregano, and cayenne in a skillet over medium-low heat, being sure to spread the spices as evenly as possible. Stir or shake the skillet occasionally so that the spices won't burn. Once they are fragrant from the heat, stir them into the beef.
- Add jalapeños to the beef and allow the mixture to steam just a little.
- Stir in beef stock and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat and simmer until the beef is very tender, about 2 hours.
- Break up the beef with a potato masher.
- When you're ready to serve, stir in masa harina to thicken the liquid.
- Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
- Serve with garnishes such as shredded sharp cheddar cheese, sour cream, finely chopped fresh chiles, and chopped scallions.