Among chili aficionados, your answer to the question of "beans or no beans" can earn you disdain or respect. I love beans in my chili but I also dislike that thick, stodgy mess made from mostly beans that is called "chili con carne" on the labels of cans and in certain regions of our fair country. The star should be the chiles, either from pods or ground to a powder. Even the meat (in this case some delicious chuck roast I got from Doug Stonebreaker of Prather Ranch Meat Co.) takes a back seat.
A note on spelling: The pods are called chiles. The dish is called Chili. When you see Chile Powder (with an "e"), you should expect it to be 100% ground chiles. If you are buying Chili Powder (with an "i"), there's a better-than-good chance there will be spices and herbs added. We now offer both of the above, because we know you like options!
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 pounds chuck roast, cut into ½- to 1-inch cubes
- 2 white onions, chopped
- 4 to 6 cloves garlic
- 3 tablespoons Rancho Gordo Sabor Vaquero Chili Powder Blend OR a mixture of 1 tablespoon Rancho Gordo Mexican Oregano, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, and ¼ to ½ cup Rancho Gordo New Mexican Red Chile Powder
- 3 cups water
- 1 bottle Negro Modelo (or other dark beer)
- 3 cups Rancho Gordo San Franciscano, Vaquero, Santa Maria Pinquitos, or Domingo Rojo beans, cooked and drained
- 1 tablespoon of Masa Harina (optional)
- Garnishes of your choice
- In a stock pot, heat the oil and brown the meat pieces. Remove as they brown.
- When all the pieces are browned and seared, lower the heat and sauté the onions and garlic until soft. Then add the chili powder blend or the oregano/cumin/chile powder mixture. Fry the spices for a few minutes and then slowly add the water and then the beer. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Add the meat back to the pot and allow to simmer gently for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
- Add the beans and salt to taste. Cook for another 10 minutes or so. The texture should be somewhat soupy but if the liquid is too thin, dissolve the masa harina in about ½ cup of water. Stir well to avoid any lumps. Slowly trickle the liquid into the chili. Cook on low for another 15 minutes or so.
- Ladle out hot with garnishes of raw chopped onion, chopped cilantro, chile powder, etc. Serve with hot flour tortillas, buttermilk biscuits or your favorite cornbread.