Here is a recipe for a simple yet very flavorful homemade chili made from scratch. It’s my variation of the recipe I found in the Chelsea Market Cookbook: 100 Recipes from New York’s Premier Indoor Food Hall book I got some time ago. The original chili recipe is waaaaaaay too spicy for me, so I made this chili with quite a bit less kick to it.
This particular chili is special in many ways. It uses some of the most flavorful spices, such as ancho and chipotle chile. Ancho chile has very nice fruity and sweet notes. It’s not spicy, but very flavorful. I use it in place of regular chili powder. This chile is dark red due to longer roasting time, and gives the dish a nice dark red color. The chipotle chile brings its smoky and spicy flavor. Mexican oregano is deliciously flavorful.
While making this chili it was the first time that I actually used Mexican oregano, and I was very pleasantly surprised. I found it more delicately flavored than regular oregano, and I really liked the aroma. I used this type of oregano on pork tenderloin and it work really well. The original recipe uses a handful other chiles, such as guajillo, and New Mexican chile, but they are very spicy varieties so I did not use them in this recipe. Chipotle and jalapeno are enough to make this chili spicy.
Another interesting feature of this chili dish is that it uses large pieces of beef instead of ground beef. I love the chunks of meat in my chili and the texture they add! By the time the chili is done cooking, chunks of chuck become soft and practically melt-in-you-mouth tender. The bacon adds additional flavor and texture.
Oh, this chili is beanless, too. As I was making the original recipe some time ago, by the time I was done I realized I did not put in any beans. I thought I had missed that step. I went and re-read the recipe, and no, there were no beans in the recipe. I don’t think absence of beans takes away from this recipe, though. The dish ends up amazing.
Homemade Chili with Chunky Beef and Bacon
- 2 lbs boneless chuck cut into 1 inch pieces
- 8 ounces bacon strips
- 1 medium yellow onion finely diced
- 6 garlic cloves peeled and pressed
- 1 jalapeno pepper whole (this will make a fairly spicy chili. Skip if you want a less spicy dish)
- 1 quart homemade beef stock or reduced sodium good quality storebought beef broth
- 1 lbs fresh tomatoes diced (or canned crushed tomatoes)
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup drinking water
- 2 tsp kosher salt plus more to taste
- 1 1/2 Tbsp ground cumin
- 1 Tbsp pure ground chipotle chile
- 1 Tbsp onion powder
- 1 Tbsp ground ancho chile
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tsp dried Mexican oregano
Make the spice mix by mixing all spices together in a small bawl. Set aside.
Fry bacon over medium-high heat until nicely browned and crisp. Save bacon fat. Transfer onto a large plate lined with paper towel to drain excess fat. Cool and cut into 1 inch pieces. Set aside.
Preheat a large skillet with about 2 tablespoons of fat from frying bacon. In batches,cook beef over medium-high heat until nicely browned, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
In the same skillet, cook onions and garlic with about 1 tablespoon of bacon fat over high heat, until the onions are soft and golden brown.
Add meat, bacon, spices and the rest of ingredients and bring to simmer. After one hour remove the jalapeno pepper and continue cooking for another 2 hours.