Beefy, spicy, bold, Beef Chipotle Chili with Beer is a great easy to make chili that will keep the whole family happy and warm on a cold winter's day
Behind the scenes of Beef Chipotle Chili with Beer
Yesterday was the Storm of the Century here in Northern California.
Well, that's what they called it anyway. And since it seems that we are generally blessed with little weather to speak of, it was the topic of everyone's conversations. Every news station talked about how to be prepared. Stores were crazy selling flashlights, batteries, water.
Floods, rising rivers, downed trees. The roads were a mess. Not only from nature but from all those driving on them. Sharing the road ... or not. Seems like half the people want to drive as if it's not raining cats and dogs with high winds, speeding at the same speeds they always do and the other half slow so far down slow that they are barely moving at all. And the speeders won't go around, and the slow-pokes won't pull over. Yes, sharing the road is not something that happens when it rains.
"This chili boasts a deep rich taste"
So rather than getting into my car for groceries and getting on the road with the wing-nuts, I decided to hunker down and make some chili for dinner. I had coarse ground meat, some bell peppers that really needed to be used up, and beans. So I planned to make my recipe for 3-Bean Chili con Carne.
As I sat watching the rain pounding down, I decided I wanted to make a new, different chili. And I decided that those bell peppers could wait for another use as well. I thought of heat, warmth, soul-satisfying deep rich chili. Chipotle chile, dark amber beer. And so I came up with Beef Chipotle Chili with Beer.
"This chili is so good my husband forgave the use of tomato paste and beans"
I don't drink beer on a regular basis. As a matter of fact, it's so irregular that I might safely say I have two beers a year, and I have those a sip at a time. Artisan craft beers are becoming big in Sonoma wine country. Almost as big as the wine industry itself. As such when we go to a brewhouse, I like to get a sampler, tasting the difference between amber, ale, and stout. They all taste so different. Because I wanted this chili recipe to have a deep flavor, I chose a dark amber Mexican beer, Negra Modelo. I also chose to use chipotle powder rather than a chipotle in adobo, but I think you could use either equally well.
If using chipotle in adobo, I would use 1 chili (diced) and a tablespoon of the adobo.
Not being a chili expert (just a chili pretty darn good) I consulted a few cookbooks I own that are chili-centric. One book, Chili Madness is written by chili competitors and judge Jane Butel. She advocates not covering the pot when you cook chili, stating that covering the chili inhibits the development of flavor and texture.
So I left the cover off.
Did it make a difference?
Well, I will say that this recipe for Beef Chipotle Chili with Beer was one of the best chilis I've ever eaten. And my Texan-raised husband agreed, even forgiving me for using the unheard-of ingredients in a true Texas chili; tomatoes and beans. But I'm not sure it was the lack of a lid. And not putting the lid on did require more frequent stirring and adding of liquid, which, overall, dilutes the initial ingredients making you add more in the end. And no lid would prohibit this chili being made in a slow-cooker or crock-pot...so I would say, use the lid if you want. Cook it on the stove-top, in the oven, or in a crock-pot.
And of course, this and all chilis freeze beautifully. So make a big batch to enjoy today and in your tomorrows ...
Try this with some delicious Polenta Corn Muffins!
Beef Chipotle Chili with Beer
- 2 pounds beef cut into ¼ inch cubes or coarsely ground (generally called chili grind)
- 1 - 2 tablespoons olive, avocado or, grapeseed oil
- 1 ½ cups diced onion about 1 large
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic about 2 large cloves
- 1 1-pound container Pico de Gallo
- 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
- 1 12-ounce bottle dark amber beer (like Negra Modelo)
- 1 cup beef broth or as needed
- ¼ to ½ cup good quality chili powder I used the full ½ cup
- 1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 ½ teaspoons cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder or to taste
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste
- Salt and pepper
- 2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 15-ounce can pinto beans in chili sauce, undrained
- Optional Toppings
- Grated cheddar cheese
- Diced red onion
- In a deep pot or Dutch oven heat the oil over medium-low heat; add the meat along with a large pinch of salt; cook, stirring to break it up until it is no longer red; add the onion and garlic, sauté together for about 3 minutes, then add the pico de gallo and cook for 3 minutes longer. Stir in the tomato paste and stir it in well; then add the beer. Allow the beer to cook until it is no longer foaming; then add enough beef stock to cover the meat by about ½ inch. Stir in the chili powder, oregano, and cumin. Lower the heat to simmer, and simmer for 2 hours. If uncovered, check often to ensure the meat remains covered, adding beef broth as needed. After 2 hours, add the beans, taste and adjust for seasonings; cook for ½ hour to 1 hour more. Serve in bowls with optional toppings if desired.
- If cooking in a crock-pot or slow-cooker, after cooking the meat and vegetables, transfer to your crock-pot and add the balance of the ingredients, excluding the beans. Cook on low for 6 - 8 hours, add the beans and cook 1 hour longer.
- If you want to cook this in the oven, after all the ingredients are in the pot, place in a 325°F oven for 2 hours, add the beans, stir and cook an additional hour.