Chili Con Carne
Chili con carne, a Texan creation, is a traditional one-dish dinner. Toppings -- avocado, scallions, tortilla chips, and cheese -- are up to each guest.
For the Chili
- 3 ancho chiles (dried poblano chiles)
- 1 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 4 ounces pork (such as shoulder or chops), finely chopped
- 2 pounds boneless chuck steak, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 large white onion, chopped (2 cups)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- Coarse salt
- 28 ounces whole peeled tomatoes, briefly pulsed in a blender
- 2 cans or bottles of beer (12 ounces each)
- 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
For the Toppings
- 4 ripe Hass avocados, halved lengthwise, pitted, flesh scooped whole from skin, and coated with fresh lemon juice
- 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 bag (20 ounces) salted corn tortilla chips
- 5 ounces sharp orange cheddar cheese, grated
Toast chiles in a skillet over medium heat, turning often, until fragrant and puffed up, 2 minutes. Cut in half; remove cores. Reserve seeds. Transfer chiles to a bowl; cover with boiling water. Set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add pork; cook until browned, 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate. Working in batches, cook beef until browned, 3 minutes per side, adding more oil as needed and transferring browned meat to the plate.
Meanwhile, put chiles and 1/2 cup soaking liquid into a blender; puree. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add onion and garlic, and cook, stirring often, until softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in cumin, oregano, bay leaf, 1 teaspoon salt, and 2 tablespoons reserved chile seeds (more for heat, if desired). Cook 1 minute. Add chile puree. Raise heat to medium-high; cook, stirring, 2 minutes.
Return meat to pot. Add 2 teaspoons salt, the tomatoes, and beer. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-high. Simmer, stirring occasionally, 1 1/4 hours. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, stirring occasionally, until meat is tender and sauce is thick, about 30 minutes more. Discard bay leaf. Stir in vinegar. Serve chili with avocado halves, scallions, tortilla chips, and grated cheese.