I truly cannot express how many iterations of chili I have made over the years, especially when you consider that everyone has a different definition of what chili actually is. Apparently in Texas, chili does not have beans or tomatoes, but let me stop you right here and tell you that is some absolute nonsense that I do not have the time nor the money for, and neither do you.
While I did take a page out of the Texas book with a lot of peppers, we’re packing in the tomatoes and beans too. This needs to last several days and I can only imagine the cost of such an undertaking without beans or tomatoes to bulk out your beautiful chili.
Historically, I’ve almost always gone for the slow cooker or the instant pot for chili, but this one gets so much flavor so quickly, we’re doing it right on the stove. Truly, this is a feasible weekday dinner for us, and it’s even faster if you’re not also photographing and documenting every step of the process so you can share it on the internet. It’s quick to prep and then you kinda just…wait and do other nice things / less-nice things that need to get done while it cooks. Bonus: peppers can be roasted up to two days prior.
If you are avoiding beans for any reason, you could use chickpeas instead. Alternatively, squash or sweet potato could also work though should probably be added in a little later in the cooking process so they don’t turn to mush. If you are in an exceptional time crunch, ground meat is fine, but the stew meat really is better.
You will need:
- A beloved Dutch oven or cocotte of your choosing, 4-5 qt
- Sharp knife
- Cutting board
- Some bowls
- Baking sheet with roasting rack
- 1 lb mixed peppers (mostly poblano, a few jalapeno, whatever you want)
- 1.5 lbs beef chuck stew meat
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 12 cloves of garlic
- 7.5oz can chipotle peppers in adobo or 3 tbsp chipotle paste
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 tsp red wine vinegar
- 1/2 can water (I use the diced tomato can)
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)
- 3/4 tsp chipotle powder (or to taste)
- 1 tbsp oil of choice e.g. avocado
- 1 tbsp diamond crystal salt, divided
- Unsweetened non-dairy yogurt of choice
Wash and dry peppers. Using a sharp knife, cut the tops off and (if you want) remove the seed stem running through the center of the pepper or as much as possible without cutting the peppers in half. Arrange on a baking sheet, ideally with a rack/grate on the pan to keep them raised from the bottom (this helps with air flow). Broil on medium-high heat for roughly 25 minutes, turning once halfway through. Seriously, please turn the peppers. If this approach sounds familiar, it is not terribly dissimilar to my approach for homemade doña sauce and is mostly the same thing as my no-grill roasted peppers. It’s a gem, really.
While your peppers are roasting, peel a whole head of garlic and set the cloves aside. That’s right, keep ’em whole! Chop a large onion and set that aside too. I also like to drain and rinse my beans and chop my canned chipotle peppers so everything is ready to go once I need it. Keep onion and garlic separate, but tomatoes, beans, and peppers will all get added at about the same time so feel free to use one large bowl there.
When peppers are done – they should be pretty black on both sides – immediately remove them to a zip-top bag and seal. You can use a bowl with plastic wrap or foil here, but truly the bag gets the best results in my opinion. Let peppers steam for at least 10 minutes, but not much longer than that. This steaming process helps separate the deeply blackened skin from the flesh which makes it easier to remove, but if the peppers cool too much, it becomes more difficult.
Gently remove the blackened crispy skin from the peppers and set aside. Just do your best here, it really doesn’t need to be perfect, but as much as possible without negatively impacting your mental health is a good place to be. (Personally, I find this process kind of therapeutic, especially with some good music on!) If you are using hotter peppers, I highly recommend wearing gloves while doing this. Once all of the peppers are peeled, chop into roughly bite-sized pieces and set aside.
Finally, use a sharp knife to halve your stew meat pieces. The butcher/grocer often leaves stew meat in fairly large pieces, which is great for a long or pressurized cook, but we’re moving with the quickness here and bite-sized pieces will cook faster. Now onto the actual chili!
Heat your Dutch oven or cocotte over medium heat, and add your oil to warm. Sautee onions for 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened and starting to brown. Add whole garlic cloves and mix well.
Once your onions are at a good point (on their way to caramelized, but without the time commitment), add your stew meat and a big pinch of salt (or two). Stir occasionally for 3-5 minutes until meat begins to brown. More brown = more flavor! This is called the Maillard reaction, and it is delicious. With beautiful onions, whole garlic cloves, and browned meat, it is finally time to add your remaining ingredients.
To your lovely concoction, add diced tomatoes, drained and rinsed beans, roasted peppers, chipotle peppers, tomato paste, a splash of red wine vinegar, cayenne and chipotle powders, and a big pinch of salt. If you struggle with mobility issues, it might be helpful to add these ingredients one at a time and stir in between. Once all ingredients are added, stir well to combine. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for about 70 minutes. To ensure even cooking and prevent scorching anything on the bottom, stir every 15-20 min.
Once the meat is tender, serve immediately with a dollop of non-dairy yogurt. If you manage to have leftovers, refrigerate and consume within 3-5 days.
In This Recipe:
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