Chili, Hold The Beans

No-bean chili

The February issue of Bon Appetit features a spread called "The United States of Chili" with recipes for four different kinds of chili. I immediately dismissed the Black Bean Chili with Butternut Squash and the Cincinnati Chili, lingered a moment over the Pork Chile Verde with Red Chile Salsa, and homed right in on the Chili con Carne.

How do you like your chili? Do you make it with chicken, pork, or beef, or do you go meatless? Is it red or green? Do you load it up with veggies and beans?

I'm a huge fan of Texas-style chili, or chili con carne -- all meat, no beans allowed. If that's how you like your chili too, then I recommend giving this recipe a try. It has a very authentic flavor, likely from the half cup of ground ancho chiles, and is full of tender beef. It has heat, but it's not overwhelming. If you like your chili hot, you may want to chop up some chiles and throw those in. It's also pretty effortless -- involving just a bit of prep, a little sauteeing, and then a whole lot of slow and low simmering. Just remember to make it the day before you plan to eat it.

Chili Con Carne (adapted from Bon Appetit, February 2011)


4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
4 pounds well-trimmed boneless beef chuck, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 medium onions, chopped
1 head of garlic (about 15 cloves), peeled and chopped
1/2 cup ground ancho chiles
2 tablespoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 12-ounce bottle dark beer
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
2 cups water
2 teaspoons dried oregano (I used Mexican oregano)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 tablespoons masa harina
Cooked egg noodles (optional)
Shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
Chopped scallions (optional)


Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add one-third of the beef to the pot, season it with salt, and cook until browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer beef to a large bowl. Repeat with remaining two-thirds of beef, adding another tablespoon of oil before each batch.

Reduce heat to medium. Add remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and the onions, and saute until onions are softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic, and cook for 2 minutes.

Stir in ground anchos, cumin, allspice, cinnamon, and cloves, and cook for 1 minute.

Stir in the beer, making sure to scrape up all the brown bits, and cook for another minute.

Return beef and juices to the pot.

Add tomatoes with juice, water, oregano, and kosher salt.

Bring chili to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover (leaving lid slightly ajar), and simmer gently until beef is tender, about 2 hours.

Cover, and chill overnight.

When ready to serve, scoop the fat off the chili, and bring it to a simmer over medium heat. Stir in tomato paste. Sprinkle masa on top of the chili, and stir it in.

Simmer uncovered until thickened and beef is very tender. If necessary, thin the chili with 1/4 cup of water at a time.

Spoon chili over egg noodles (if using), and top with cheese and scallions (if desired).

Chili con carne

Tell me what's in your chili!