You’re not in Buffalo anymore, they said. Pinch me. You could have fooled me with all the snow on the ground and ice in the trees as we’re pushing toward March. Yes, I ordered peas to plant on St. Patrick’s Day but the thought of spring-anything is still remote. Meanwhile, hearty soups and stews and pots of beans and chili remain satisfying seasonal fare. I made this chili for Super Bowl weekend and thankfully froze some to break out during weekends like this.
It gets its kick from canned chipotle chilis in adobo, one of those versatile pantry staples that I’ve never figured out how to make from scratch. The beef — cut in large chunks to begin with – becomes tender enough to shred at the end. This reminds me of the texture of a pulled pork chili that’s become one of our favorites for large parties, but is much simpler and less time-consuming to make.
Chipotle Beef Chili adapted from a Whole Foods cook-off
1½ lb chuck steak, cut into large chunks (3 x 4 inches or so)
Vegetable oil (such as grapeseed, with a high smoke point and neutral flavor)
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 red peppers, diced (or 1 red and 1 yellow)
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp chili powder
¼ c chipotle chilis in adobo sauce, chopped
¼ c tomato paste
1 qt (32 oz can) whole tomatoes, roughly chopped, juice reserved
2 c beef, chicken or turkey stock, preferably homemade
2-3 c cooked black beans (two 14-oz cans, drained)
Salt if needed (if using canned ingredients, you won’t need it)
Garnishes: chopped cilantro, diced red onion, queso fresco
Pat the beef dry. In a large pan over medium-high heat, working in batches so as not to crowd the pan, brown the meat on all sides and set aside in a heavy pot or small Dutch oven that you will use to cook the chili.
Turn down the heat and add the onions and peppers to the pan, cooking gently until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and stir. Add the chili powder and stir. Add the chopped chilis and tomato paste and continue to stir until the mixture is well combined. Add some of the tomatoes and their juice to deglaze the pan and pour the mixture over the pot that contains the meat.
Add the remaining tomatoes and their juice, along with the stock. Cover the pot and simmer on the stovetop (or in a 250-degree oven) for 2-3 hours until the beef is tender and falling apart.
Remove the beef, shred it, and return it to the pot with the black beans. Season with salt and additional adobo sauce to taste. If you’ve used canned tomatoes, stock or beans, you probably won’t need salt. Garnish with cilantro, and other ingredients such as diced red onion, queso fresco, et cetera.