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Recipe: Chili with Ground Beef


Recipe: Chili with Ground Beef
Dave Scantland
In our kitchen, there are two kinds of beef chili with red sauce: long-simmered chunks of beef shoulder, and this version, made with ground beef. We call this "chili-dog chili" because it's the main way we use it, but it's also great in "Frito Pie" (which I grew up calling "prison chili") or chili-cheese fries. It also makes a good filling for American style tacos (the kind made with crisp shells). We don't add beans to ours, but feel free to if you like them.

Yield: 2 servings


  • 1/2 pound ground beef (I prefer chuck)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped (1/4 cup)
  • 2 teaspoons ancho or New Mexico ground chile
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup beer (or water)
  • 2/3 cup ancho chile sauce
  • 3 tablespoons tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon pureed chipotle chile in adobo*
  • Optional: 1 cup drained cooked pinto beans


1. In a small saute pan, cook the ground beef over medium heat. When the beef is no longer pink, add the onion. Sprinkle with salt and continue to cook until the onion pieces are softened, and the water in the pan has evaporated. Continue to cook until the beef is browned. If there is more than a few teaspoons of fat in the pan, drain it off.

2. Add the ground chile, garlic, cumin and oregano and cook for a minute or two, until spices are fragrant.

3. Turn the heat to medium high and deglaze the pan with the beer or water, stirring to loosen the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook until most of the beer has evaporated.

4. Turn the heat to medium low. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer and cover the pan. Cook for 15 to 25 minutes, or until mixture has thickened enough that a spoonful of meat mostly holds its shape. Adjust seasoning.

* To make pureed chipotles, empty a can of chipotles in adobo sauce into the bowl of a small food processor or blender and blend until mostly smooth. The puree will keep for weeks in the refrigerator or months in the freezer.

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