Serves 6
Different chili recipes present a wide variety of regional personalities and variations, not to mention favorites: Do you like it with or without beans? Chopped meat or ground meat? Whole chilies or mixed chili powder, or both? This recipe will appeal to just about everyone. Always serve it with some combination of fixings, such as grated cheese, sour cream, sliced avocados, chopped tomatoes, chopped onion or scallions, or minced cilantro. Garnish with salty tortilla chips or crumble in corn bread.


  • 5 dried red chiles (Mexican ancho, New Mexican Hatch, or Anaheim)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (1 tablespoon)
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup pickled jalapenos, chopped (optional)
  • 1 28-ounce can tomatoes, broken up, with juice
  • 12 ounces beer
  • 1 15-ounce can beans (pinto, kidney, black, or a combination), drained


  1. In a dry large skillet over high heat, lightly toast both sides of the chiles for a few minutes. After roasting, remove from pan to slice open, then remove and discard the stem and seeds. Cover the chiles in boiling water and let soften for 5 minutes. In a blender or food processor, puree the chiles with enough soaking liquid to form a thick paste.
  2. Heat the skillet again over medium-high heat, and then add the olive oil. Saute the onion and garlic until translucent, about 3 minutes. Increase the heat and add the beef and 2 teaspoons of the salt. Brown the beef, stirring occasionally to pick up browned bits on the bottom of the pan as the moisture evaporates, about 15 minutes. If the meat is excessively fatty (your judgment call), spoon off some of the fat, but leave some for flavor.
  3. Stir in the cumin and cook for 30 seconds. Add the chile paste, red pepper flakes, oregano, bay leaf, jalapenos, and the remaining teaspoon of salt. Stir to combine well.
  4. Add the tomatoes and beer and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the beans and cook for an additional 20 minutes. Add water if needed for desired consistency. Serve with preferred condiments.
cook's note
Dried Red Chilies: If you dry a fresh green poblano chili, you wind up with a red Mexican ancho chili. Its flavor—earthy and mildly spicy yet slightly fruity—lends a marvelous depth to chili, sauces, and stews. New Mexican Hatch or dried red Anaheim chilies can also be used in place of ancho.
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