Chili—ashili—as it should be

You can start a pretty heated argument with certain people about whether chili should or shouldn’t have beans in it. Our vote is pretty obvious. Sitting down to a bowl of this on a cold winter day just seems right. Double or triple the batch for big parties. Perhaps having a diced red onion or chives for garnishing would be appropriate.

1 ancho chili, dried
2 red chile peppers, dried
½ cup (125 mL) olive oil
1 pound (900 g) beef (chuck, tenderloin), cubed
1 tablespoon cumin seed
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1 pound (900 g) ground beef
2 cups (300 g) onion, chopped
½ cup (125 mL) beef stock
28 ounces (825 mL) canned crushed tomatoes
28 ounces (825 mL) canned whole tomatoes
3–4 tablespoons tomato paste
4 cups (700 g) bell pepper, chopped

  1. Place the dried ancho and dried red peppers in a bowl of hot water to soak for at least 30 minutes. Drain.
  2. Add ¼ cup (60 mL) of oil into large pot and get it good and hot. Take cubed meat and brown in pot on all sides. Remove browned cubes from pot and set aside.
  3. Combine remaining olive oil, cumin seeds, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, reconstituted peppers and chipotle peppers in food processor and process for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  4. Return your large pot to medium heat, and brown ground beef. Once browned, add spice/seasoned paste from processor and onions. Cook until onions are slightly translucent, then add the beef stock. Bring to a simmer and cook until stock is reduced slightly.
  5. Add in both cans of tomatoes (crushed and whole), tomato paste, chopped peppers and the browned cubed meat.
  6. Stir to mix all ingredients and simmer for 1½–2 hours. The longer you cook the more flavor you get.

Variations—Ground turkey or sausage can be substituted for the ground beef.

Tips & Tricks—If you don’t want to stand over the stove for a few hours, dump everything in a slow cooker after step 4. Set the cooker to high. You can freeze chili in individual servings and enjoy it for weeks to come.