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cold weather essentials: classic chili con carne

Recipe by
Andy Anderson !
Wichita, KS

Chili con carne (chili with meat), is a staple in many areas of the country; especially Texas, where they take their chili very seriously. This recipe harks back to the days when chili was basically two things: chilies, and meat. And, not ground meat… big old chunks of meat. I did throw in some onions, and garlic, but NO BEANS. No self-respecting Texas chili would dare to have beans. Anyway, this one is pretty straightforward, and tastes great on cold days, hot days, rainy days… Whatever day you choose. So, you ready… Let’s get into the kitchen.

yield serving(s)
prep time 35 Min
cook time 4 Hr
method Bake

Ingredients For cold weather essentials: classic chili con carne

  • 4 c
    chicken stock, not broth
  • 4 oz
    dried chilies, stemmed and seeded, more on this later
  • 2 Tbsp
    grapeseed oil
  • 2 lb
    chuck or charcoal steak, cut into thick slices
  • 1 md
    yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 clove
    garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp
    apple-cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp
    ground cumin
  • 1 tsp
    dried oregano
  • 1 - 2 pinch
    ground cinnamon
  • hot sauce, to taste, i prefer frank’s
  • salt, kosher variety, to taste
  • black pepper, freshly ground, to taste

How To Make cold weather essentials: classic chili con carne

  • 1
  • 2
    The dried chilies that you use for this dish will determine its heat and its flavor. I selected a combination of Ancho, Pasilla Negro, and New Mexico Mild Hatch chilies.
  • 3
    The two cuts of beef I like for this dish are charcoal, and chuck. Both have nice marbling, great flavor, and braise up nice and fork tender.
  • 4
    If you want to pull a bit more of an earthy flavor out of your dried chilies, place them on a cookie sheet, and put them in a 500f (260c), oven until they begin to brown, about 5 – 7 minutes.
  • 5
    If you are interested, this is what 4 ounces of stemmed, deseeded dry chilies look like.
  • 6
    Gather your Ingredients (mise en place).
  • 7
    Place a rack in the bottom position, and preheat the oven to 220f (105c).
  • 8
    Add the chicken stock, and dried chilies to a saucepan over medium heat.
  • 9
    Allow the saucepan to slowly simmer for 10 - 12 minutes.
  • 10
    Remove from heat, allow to slightly cool, and then use a blender to puree the sauce.
  • 11
    Add the grapeseed oil to a heavy-bottom pot, preferably a Dutch oven. Set the heat to medium high.
  • 12
    Sprinkle both sides of the beef slices with salt and pepper, and then brown on both sides in the hot oil, about 4 – 5 minutes per side.
  • 13
    Remove from the pot, allow to cool, and then cut into bite-size chunks.
  • 14
    Chef’s Note: The beef will not be cooked in the center, and that is okay. The purpose of the searing was to develop a bit of flavor in the beef, and get some fonds on the bottom of the pot.
  • 15
    Reduce the heat of the pot to medium, add the onions, and cook until softened, about 4 – 5 minutes.
  • 16
    Chef’s Note: You might need to add a bit more oil to the pot.
  • 17
    Chef’s Note: When the onions begin to soften, and release their moisture, use a wooden spoon to scrape up all those yummy brown fonds that developed on the bottom of the pot, while you were searing the beef slices.
  • 18
    Add the garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 60 seconds.
  • 19
    Add the reserved chili/chicken stock, plus the vinegar, cumin, oregano, and cinnamon, and then stir to combine.
  • 20
    Chef’s Note: Add a bit of hot sauce, to taste.
  • 21
    Add the beef chunks, and bring the pot up to a simmer.
  • 22
    Place the pot into the preheated oven, and bake until the beef is fork tender, about 2.5 to 3 hours.
  • 23
    Chef's Note: The cut of beef you choose will determine the amount of time it takes for the beef to become fork tender.
  • 24
  • So Yummy
    I like to serve this rustic style, with bowls of cheese, sour cream, and chopped onion; plus some nice warm tortillas, a bottle of hot sauce, and lots of ice-cold beer. Enjoy.
  • 26
    Keep the faith, and keep cooking.

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