Some of the most satisfying chili around is the most basic: a beef and tomato base with a little heat from chiles to create excitement. This recipe calls for a combination of fresh and dried chiles to infuse the dish with an incredible depth of flavor. Avocado and tortilla chips temper the spice.



Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Toast dried chiles in a dry skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant and blistered, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove stem and seeds; discard. Transfer chiles to a large measuring cup or bowl, and cover with hot water. Keep chiles submerged with a small bowl, and let soak for 30 minutes. Remove from water, and puree in a blender with 1/2 cup soaking liquid.

  • Heat a large heavy pot over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil. Season beef with 2 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Brown beef in batches, adding more oil as needed, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

  • Add remaining tablespoon oil, the onions, garlic, and minced chiles to pot, and cook over medium-high heat until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. (If the pan gets too dark, add a little water, and scrape up browned bits with a wooden spoon to deglaze.) Add cumin and oregano, and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute.

  • Stir in browned beef and chile puree. Add tomato puree, water, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer gently, partially covered, until meat is very tender and juices are thick, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. (Check pot once an hour for excessive evaporation; if chili seems dry, add a little water.) Season chili with salt, and stir in vinegar. Serve immediately (or refrigerate for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months; reheat in a pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally).

Cook's Notes

The dried chiles, oregano, and cumin can be replaced with 1/2 cup chili powder. Skip step 1, add powder to onion mixture, and cook for 1 minute.

Reviews (6)

79 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 23
  • 4 star values: 30
  • 3 star values: 18
  • 2 star values: 8
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 5 stars
I have been making this chili for at least 10 years. I might get around Halloween and it's known as my Halloween from scratch chili. It is always awesome no matter what little changes I make. I make two batches one with beans, which Texas chili doesn't have, and one without because some people like beans. This is a great idea for families or groups with trick-or-treating kids. When they are done everybody can come back at 8 this wonderful chili. We like and a couple intimate Fritos and sliced avocado
Rating: 5 stars
I’ve never liked beans, just one of the kid things I never grew out of completely: so I never liked chili. I mean I loved chili - the smell is always amazing, and have had variations of chili but not real chili and loved it. I love sauces and spices and it always bummed me out that I couldn’t get myself to eat it because I couldn’t get past the beans. This is my chili recipe now and forever.
Rating: Unrated
This is wonderful! I will definitely make this again, and soon. It's especially good on a cold winter day. It's also great for making a Frito pie - pour chili over Fritos, and add cheese. For those of you wanting to add beans: you may end up with chili, but it won't be Texas Red. True Texas Red never, ever, ever has beans in it.
Rating: Unrated
tasty, but I wouldn't make again - still looking for "perfect" chili! I'd never made chili with anything but ground beef, and I really liked the diced chuck. It cooked up very tender. I did add some pintos and thickened it with a little masa as it was pretty soupy, even after 3 hours.
Rating: Unrated
Wonderful nuances and layers of flavor from the different peppers. We resisted the urge to add beans. Very flavorful, highly recommend.
Rating: Unrated
This is very delicious! Next time, however, I will also add some kidney beans. I think it could use the balance. We added some extra sharp cheddar and that was a nice touch, too.