Did you know there’s a lot of debate about “chili”, but I’m not having it! I’m making this Spicy Ancho Beef Chili and outright calling it “Chili”!
Now, I’m not “messing with Texas” here, I promise! I certainly don’t want to offend anyone, but for lack of better words, I am calling this bowl of Spicy Ancho Beef Chili, “Chili”. My apologies to Kriston Capps, author of “Beans Do Not Belong in Chili”, a detailed editorial/overview of why chili DOES NOT have beans. Apparently the reasoning boils down to the fact that it originally didn’t have beans, and therefore never should. Kind of in the way the original ice cream didn’t have chopped up cookies, but now it does. Now we all know that each version can still be referred to as “ice cream” – you know what I’m saying?
So I have to call it chili, if ONLY because I am not from Texas; therefore, I (arguably) don’t know any better. Beans have always been in the dish I have called “chili”. For the same reasons Chicagoans call their casserole of pizza ingredients in a cast-iron pan “pizza”, I am calling this chili. For the same reasons Southern Cornbread and New England cornbread are wildly different things due to their sugar content (none vs. some) and both are “cornbread”, this is chili. Does anyone disagree?
So, now that we have that clear, and all the Texans have taken a deep breath, this Spicy Ancho Beef Chili was inspired by this recipe, which I found on myrecipes.com, originally published in Cooking Light, and by the fact I had part of a bag of dried ancho chilis leftover from a binge of Posole-making I went on earlier this year. (I actually ended up using Hatch, or New Mexico chiles for that recipe, hence the plethora of anchos in this recipe.) You can use the whole 2-oz. bag of anchos, but I felt safer cutting it down a bit, and it was plenty spicy.
This Spicy Chili was nice and meaty, thanks to the lovely cubes of chuck roast, which, when simmered in the beautiful deep red chili broth, practically fell apart at the slightest bite. The chilis added a depth of flavor difficult to come by in a spice drawer. And the beans add some great texture, extra protein, and flavor! Topped with sour cream, cheese, and chopped scallions, this was a full meal in a bowl. Perfect for a cool fall day!
So, please, let me know, do you object to this Spicy Ancho Beef Chili being called “chili”? And, if you do, I’d like to know what you would call it instead. And “Beans and Meat simmered in chilis and spices” is not going to work, just FYI. Sorry, Texas! (I still love you, though!) Enjoy!
If you like this spicy food the way I do, check out these other recipes I’ve made by clicking HERE.
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Spicy Ancho Beef Chili
Inspired by This recipe, originally published in Cooking Light, I created Spicy Ancho Beef Chili with Beans. It is meaty, spicy and full of ancho chili flavor. This recipe makes at least 10 servings, so is great for a crowd.
If you’ve never used dried chilis, be sure to stem and seed them, or they may be too spicy. Anchos are a good one to start with as they are readily available. You can soak them in warm water to reconstitute them, but I find it is easier to seed them when dry, and then just chop and saute them to soften.
- Prep Time: 45 min
- Cook Time: 1-4 hr.
- Total Time: 1 hr, 45 min
- Yield: 10-12 servings 1x
- Category: Soups and Stews
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Tex-Mex
- 3 T Olive Oil (any type), divided
- 2 1/2 lb. Boneless Chuck Roast, cut into 1” cubes
- 1 Red Bell Pepper, stemmed, seeded, chopped
- 1 Green Bell Pepper, stemmed, seeded, chopped
- 1 lg yellow or white onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
- 4 t Cumin
- 4 t Chili Powder
- 1 t Paprika
- 2 T Brown Sugar
- 1 1/2 oz. Dried Ancho chilis, stemmed and seeded, cut into 1” pieces
- 1–28oz. Can Crushed Tomatoes
- 1 qt (4 cups) Low-sodium Beef Broth
- 2 cans black, pinto, or kidney beans, drained and rinsed
Saute the beef and peppers:
- Into a large, heavy pot (Enameled Cast-iron is ideal), over high heat, heat 1 T olive oil. Salt and pepper, then brown the beef cubes, in batches, on all sides. As they become browned, remove beef to a separate bowl.
- If the beef leaves a lot of fat in the bottom of the pot, wipe out the pot, pouring out all but about 1 T. Add a tablespoon of olive oil, and returning heat to medium-high, saute the chopped bell peppers until tender, about 6 minutes. Remove peppers to the bowl with the beef cubes.
Make the chili base:
- Keeping heat at Medium to Medium high, add another tablespoon of olive oil, if needed, and saute the chopped onion, stirring regularly, for about 8 minutes, until golden. Add the garlic, cumin, chili powder, paprika and brown sugar. Stir and saute for 30-60 seconds, until very fragrant. Add the chilies and continue to saute 3 minutes. Chilies should be softened slightly at this point.
- Pour in the tomatoes and beef broth. Stir, and bring to low boil.
- Remove from heat. Using an immersion blender, making sure to not splatter the hot base, blend spicy base until the onions and chilis are no longer visible. Mixture will be thick but not silky smooth.
- Spoon the beef cubes and peppers, along with any accumulated juices, into the chili base, and simmer for at least an hour, but up to 4 hours, adding extra broth or water if needed to thin the base. Salt and pepper to taste. Add additional chili powder or cumin if desired.
- 30 minutes prior to serving, add the drained and rinsed beans, again adjusting flavor with salt if needed.
- Serve in bowls with sour cream, shredded cheese and a squeeze of lime, if desired.
- Serving Size: 1/12 recipe
Keywords: Chili, soup, stew, beef, tomatoes, beans