Chili can be spicy or ordinary, sassy or sublime. I like to mix things up a bit when I cook, and I like a chili that packs a punch but also surprises the taste buds with layers and depths of flavor. I add a little cinnamon, (trust me on this), a whole bottle of dark beer, and grated, unsweetened chocolate to my chili, and you know what? Not one of them overwhelms at all, and all three add a depth and southwestern flair that’s smokin’ good!
Each hearty bite enlivens your taste buds with smoky chipotle chili, sweet carrots, lean beef, fragrant cumin and oregano, and a hint of cinnamon. This is, hands down, the best beef chili recipe I’ve ever developed and, by far, my most requested recipe when friends are visiting. So give it a shot, I promise you won’t be disappointed!
I know it looks like a lot of ingredients, but I bet you already have most of them in your pantry. And if not, it’s worth the trip to the grocery store and the few minutes of chopping and measuring.
I now make this gluten-free using a gluten-free all-purpose flour like this: King Arthur Multipurpose Flour, Gluten Free and a gluten-free beer instead of dark beer. The chili tastes just as wonderful, so, either way, you will love it.
- 6 tablespoons olive oil or coconut oil
- 3 pounds ground beef, 85/15
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 8 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and de-ribbed if you don't want it too spicy, and finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour (or gluten free all-purpose)
- ¼ cup chili powder
- 1½ tablespoons ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon ground oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 5 cups homemade or organic beef broth
- 1 bottle dark beer
- 1 28 ounce can plum tomatoes, drained and chopped
- 1 28 ounce cancrushed tomatoes
- 2 chipotle chilis in adobo sauce (find in cans in the Mexican food aisle in your grocery store)
- 2 15 ounce cans black beans
- ½ ounce half of a square unsweetened chocolate, grated
- 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese
- 1 cup sour cream
- ½ cup chopped cilantro
- 2 avocados, chopped
- 1 sweet onion, chopped
- Tortilla chips or cornbread
- ½ cup chopped jalapeno peppers
- In a large, deep, heavy dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat. Cook the meat in 2 batches, turning often, until browned on all sides. Add more oil as necessary. Transfer the meat to a bowl.
- Add 2 more tablespoons of oil and cook the onions, jalapenos and garlic until softened, about 2 or 3 minutes. Return the browned meat to the pot.
- Sprinkle the meat and vegetable mixture with the flour and stir and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the chili powder, cumin, oregano, cinnamon, salt, red pepper flakes, beer, tomatoes and beef broth.
- If you have latex gloves, you might want to put them on. You're going to add a couple of the chipotle chilies from the can that you have. These are very, very hot! I removed the seeds from one of them and chopped it and put it in the chili. I put in the other one whole and fished it out when the chili was done. If you like your chili spicy, add the whole can but be warned, they are HOT!!! The adobo sauce is wonderfully smoky so I added about a tablespoon of sauce from the can.
- Simmer partially covered over low heat for about 1 to 1½ hours or until the meat is tender and the chili has cooked down. You want it thick but not soupy. Stir it occasionally. It will probably stick a bit on the bottom and that's to be expected. Just make sure your heat isn't on too high and use a diffuser underneath your pot if you have one. (See Kate's Tips for the one I use.)
- Open your 2 cans of black beans, drain them and add them to the chili. Grate the chocolate and add it as well. Taste and adjust seasonings.
- Serve garnished with Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese, chopped cilantro, fresh sour cream, chopped onion, chopped avocado, chopped jalapenos and tortilla chips or homemade skillet cornbread. Stay warm and enjoy!
Why I Love This Recipe:
It’s loaded with flavor!
It’s a crowd pleaser
It will warm you to your toes!
It’s perfect for game day or any gathering of friends and family
- If you don’t like black beans, substitute kidney or pinto beans. Or, leave them out altogether.
- Be careful with the heat. You can always add more spice, but once it’s hot, you can’t unheat it, so take care and keep tasting it.
- Take care when working with hot peppers. I wear rubber gloves because I don’t want to accidentally.rub my eyes
- I use a diffuser like this one so my chili won’t stick on the bottom: Norpro 144 Heat Diffuser.
- Looking for Chicken Chili? Here’s my recipe: Chicken Chili.