The Perfect Chili

Once cold weather strikes, a common recipe request I receive is “chili”. Surprisingly, I have never taken the time to write out a chili recipe – rather, I have just dumped, stirred and tasted until it hits all the notes I love. But recently, I decided to slow down and write out my recipe. I’m excited to finally be able share it (and all my secrets) with you!

I love a good, spicy (but not 5-Alarm spicy), hearty, meaty bowl of chili. It really is one of the things I call comfort food. Chili was a meal my mom frequently made during the cold months. I loved how it’s spicy aroma filled our home and without asking – I knew exactly what was for dinner.

She always made plenty so that leftovers were assured – and chili leftovers are even better than chili first’s — don’t you agree?!

For my recipe, I have a long list of spices and ingredients – but don’t get scared! This chili is literally dump and go. So, once everything is in the pot, you can just pop it in the oven and walk away.

Okay, now let’s talk chili! There are so many types of chili:

  • sweet
  • spicy
  • beans
  • no beans
  • beef
  • pork
  • chicken
  • turkey
  • vegetarian
  • soupy
  • thick
  • and lets not even start talking about white – or green!

All are delicious for sure, but my idea of what makes the perfect chili is a combination of spicy, a hint of sweet, a whisper of heat, hearty, with beans and cubed chuck roast.

And here’s how I achieve that type of chili ::

Start off by browning 3-4 lb cubed chuck roast in a large (7-9 qt.) Dutch oven. Once all sides are browned, add finely chopped celery and onions. Continue cooking until the onions and celery are tender and translucent.

Next, add dried spices, brown sugar, tomatoes, wine, beef broth, water, finely diced poblano pepper, dried beans, salt and pepper AND the *surprise ingredient* cocoa powder.

The cocoa powder does 3 important things for this chili. First it gives the chili a gorgeously deep, cooked all-day color. Next, it gives the chili an unidentifiable depth of flavor that’s both complex and comforting. And last, the addition of cocoa powder creates the perfect hearty, slightly thick chili consistency I love so much.

So, add the long list of ingredients to the pot, give it a good stir, cover and place in the oven on 250° to 300° for 4-6 hours.

 

It’s okay to check the chili about halfway through the cooking process because you want to make sure the beans still have enough cooking liquid as they continue to cook and soften.

Once the beans are tender, taste the chili and add additional salt and pepper if needed.

Serve with a garnish of cheese and sour cream – maybe even a handful of Fritos and prepare to please your crowd with the perfect chili!

The Perfect Chili
Serves 12
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
6 hr
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
6 hr
Ingredients
  1. 3-4 lb cubed and trimmed chuck roast
  2. 1 medium white onion, finely diced
  3. 2 celery stalks, finely diced
  4. 1 poblano pepper, finely diced (optional)
  5. 1 lb dried pinto type beans, rinsed
  6. 2-3 t Mexican oregano
  7. 2 t cumin
  8. 4 T Hatch red chili powder
  9. 4 T sweet paprika
  10. 3 T (heaping) cocoa powder
  11. 2 t garlic powder
  12. 2 t black pepper
  13. 4 t kosher salt, more to taste
  14. 3 T light brown sugar
  15. 1 4 oz can tomato paste
  16. 1 20 oz can crushed tomatoes
  17. 10 oz spicy tomato juice
  18. 3-4 c water*
  19. 32 oz beef broth
  20. 6 oz red wine
Instructions
  1. Start off by browning 3-4 lb cubed chuck roast in a large (7-9 qt.) Dutch oven. Once all sides are browned, add finely chopped celery and onions. Continue cooking until the onions and celery are tender and translucent.
  2. Next, add dried spices, brown sugar, tomatoes, wine, beef broth, water, finely diced poblano pepper, dried beans, salt and pepper AND the *surprise ingredient* cocoa powder.
  3. The cocoa powder does 3 important things for this chili. First it gives the chili a gorgeously deep, cooked all-day color. Next, it gives the chili an unidentifiable depth of flavor that's both complex and comforting. And last, the addition of cocoa powder creates the perfect hearty, slightly thick chili consistency I love so much.
  4. So, add the long list of ingredients to the pot, give it a good stir, cover and place in the oven on 250° to 300° for 4-6 hours.
  5. It's okay to check the chili about halfway through the cooking process because you want to make sure the beans still have enough cooking liquid as they continue to cook and soften.
  6. Once the beans are tender, taste the chili and add additional salt and pepper if needed.
  7. Serve
Notes
  1. * start by adding 3 c water and check halfway through cooking time to see if the beans require additional water.
Adapted from Food for a Year
Adapted from Food for a Year
Food for a Year: https://foodforayear.com/

In true show & tell form: "I am open for questions & comments"

 
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