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The Best Chili

Total Time

Prep: 20 min. Cook: 1 hour 20 min.

Makes

8 servings (3-1/2 qt.)

My dad and father-in-law are the gurus in our chili-loving clan. But after my honeymoon to New Mexico, where I was inspired by the fresh and fragrant chile peppers at the Santa Fe farmers market, I felt it was time to introduce them to my spicy, meaty version with a touch of masa harina, dubbed the best chili recipe. —Sarah Farmer, Taste of Home Culinary Director
The Best Chili Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Ingredients

  • 3 dried ancho or guajillo chiles
  • 1 to 2 cups boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Montreal steak seasoning
  • 2 pounds beef tri-tip roast, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 2 teaspoons coarsely ground pepper, divided
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1 poblano pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 cups beef stock
  • 1 bottle (12 ounces) beer
  • 2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each ) fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can (16 ounces) kidney beans, drained
  • 3 tablespoons masa harina
  • Optional: American cheese slices, sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, diced red onion and corn chips

Directions

  1. Combine chiles and enough boiling water to cover; let stand until softened, about 15 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/3 cup of the soaking liquid. Discard stems and seeds. Process chiles, tomato paste, garlic and reserved liquid until smooth.
  2. In a small skillet, toast chili powder, paprika and cumin over medium heat until aromatic, 3-4 minutes; remove and set aside. In a Dutch oven, cook and stir ground beef and steak seasoning over medium-high heat until beef is no longer pink, about 5 minutes; remove and drain.
  3. Sprinkle steak cubes with 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper. In same Dutch oven, brown beef in batches in 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat; remove and set aside. Saute onion and poblano pepper in the remaining 1 tablespoon oil until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in toasted spices, oregano and pepper flakes. Add the cooked meats along with stock, beer, tomatoes, beans, remaining 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper, and chile paste mixture. Cook over medium heat 20 minutes; reduce heat to low. Stir in masa harina and simmer 30-45 minutes longer. Serve with desired toppings.

Can you freeze The Best Chili?

Freeze cooled chili in freezer containers. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Heat through in a saucepan, stirring occasionally; add broth or water if necessary.


Test Kitchen tips

  • Adding the masa harina at the end helps thicken the chili and give it a subtle corn flavor.
  • While this chili is fantastic right out of the pot, as with a lot of soups, stews and other chilis, it tastes even better the next day.
  • For a smart make-ahead option, double the batch and freeze the leftovers in individual portions. They'll keep for at least 6 months.
  • Nutrition Facts

    1-3/4 cups: 473 calories, 20g fat (6g saturated fat), 103mg cholesterol, 1554mg sodium, 29g carbohydrate (8g sugars, 7g fiber), 41g protein.

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