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María’s Favorite Chili

María's Favorite Chili

I LOVE chili. I loved braised beef, period, as we’ve discussed before – namely in the post above my Carne Guisada recipe – and chili is something I’m always happy to eat. I’m biased, admittedly and obviously, but the recipe I’m sharing with you today, María’s Favorite Chili, is some of the best chili I have ever had in my life – and I’ve had a LOT of chili.

This recipe was originally in my ebook ‘As Seen on IG‘ and titled Slow-Cooker Chili. I wanted to make sure to include regular instructions for those that don’t have slow cookers, so you’ll find both stovetop and slow-cooker recipes included in the recipe card. And because how good chili is definitely subjective, I titled it María’s Favorite Chili instead of BEST CHILI IN THE WHOLE WORLD because you might disagree.

María's Favorite Chili

What You’ll Need to Make María’s Favorite Chili

Feel free to jump to the full recipe, but here are useful notes about the ingredients you will need to make María’s Favorite Chili recipe:

  • Ground sirloin, chuck roast: You can use regular ground beef, just make it lean. Like 90/10 or leaner. Make sure to trim the excess fat from your chuck roast as you cut it into pieces. Too much fat will make for greasy chili, and that’s no good. You can also opt for the ‘stew meat’ you find in grocery stores, or a different type of roast like sirloin tip.
  • Light kidney beans, dark kidney beans: I like beans in my chili, but I worked on this recipe repeatedly until I knew it would work well either way.
  • Tomato sauce, diced tomatoes with habaneros, fire-roasted diced tomatoes:
  • Bell pepper, jalapeno pepper, poblano pepper, yellow onion: We want a hearty, chunky chili
  • Beef broth: The recipe calls for 8-10 cups because it varies based on cook time, ingredient amounts, and also personal preference. I like chili that doesn’t leave any broth/gravy behind. If you like a looser chili, such as Wendy’s chili, add up to the whole 10 cups.
  • All-purpose flour, masa harina: We use this to coat the pieces of chuck roast. The combination adds a great flavor to the chili, so we use the leftover flour mixture to thicken things, too. Unless you’re making this in the slow cooker: we thicken it a little differently.
  • Chili powders: I usually use Ancho, Chipotle, and New Mexico chili powders. If you can only find the stuff labeled as ‘chili powder’ in the seasoning aisle, that’ll work just fine, but try to find some variations. Off the top of my head I know that McCormick offers chili powder, hot mexican chili powder, dark red chili powder, and chipotle chili powder at my local grocery stores. Different kinds will make your chili sing! Variety is the spice of life, after all.
  • Seasoned salt: We use seasoned salt to flavor the chili. I like Lawry’s. Use what you want. Or substitutue Kosher salt, if you like.
  • Garlic powder, ground cumin, dried oregano:
  • Molasses, dark brown sugar, liquid smoke, fish sauce: I said how long and hard I workedon this recipe? Figuring this part out – these exra flavorings – was most of the work. Togther they round out the chili experience: cutting thru any acidity, deepning the umani, elevating certain aspects. Oyster sauce can be used to subtitute fish sauce and light brown sugar or honey can be used in place of molasses. Use regular molassses, not Blackstrap: that’s too bitter.
  • Kosher salt: To season our meats, as we sear them. I like to use more seasoned salt to adjust the flavors, but you can use kosher salt there instead.
María's Favorite Chili ingredients

How to Make María’s Favorite Chili 

Full instructions are included in the recipe below, but here is a basic overview of what you’ll need to do, along with some important tidbits to help you make the most of María’s Favorite Chili recipe:

  • Season and sear the roast. Add the roast chunks to a large mixing bowl and season them liberally with kosher salt. Sprinkle the flour and masa harina over the meat and toss, making sure each piece is coated.  Place a large dutch oven over medium-high heat and drizzle in a couple of teaspoons of vegetable oil. Add the pieces of roast in a single layer, making sure not to crowd the pan so all the meat will sear well – leave about a 1/2″ of space between them. Let cook undisturbed for 3 minutes, then flip and sear the other sides. Continue in batches, until all the pieces have been seared, and set them aside to rest.
  • Season and sear the ground beef. Add it to the dutch oven and sprinkle in the ancho chile powder along with a 1/2 tbsp each of seasoned salt, and garlic powder. Brown completely and drain any excess fat. Stir the diced onions and peppers into the ground beef and cook for 5-7 minutes, until the onions begin to brown around the edges.
  • Build the chili. Now, pour in the cans of diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, molasses, fish sauce, liquid smoke, brown sugar, and all remaining seasonings. Stir it all together, then stir in the beef broth. Taste and if needed, adjust the flavor with more seasoned salt if bland or brown sugar if tart/acidic/bitter. Bring the chili to a rolling boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cover with a lid. Let cook for 2 hours, stirring once every 45 minutes or so.
  • Skim, stir, simmer. After two hours, remove the lid and use a spoon to skim off the grease that’s pooling on the surface. After you’ve removed as much as you can, go ahead stir everything a few times, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pot as you go. Taste it again, and adjust for salt or sugar, if needed. Cover and continue cooking for another hour, undisturbed.
  • Bring it on home. After another hour has passed, remove the lid and once again skim off any grease pooled on top. Grab a piece of chuck roast and see if you can smash it apart with a spoon: if you can, go ahead and add the kidney beans. Let the chili come to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low and cover again. Continue cooking for another couple of hours, until the chili has darkened in color and the mixture has thickened. Dassit! 

What To Serve With María’s Favorite Chili

Well if you’re not gonna make Frito Pies – a must every single time I whip up a batch – how about some cornbread? Pictured above is my Browned Butter Honey Cornbread, but any of my cornbread recipes will work!

Obligatory Pinterest graphics – 

María's Favorite Chili
María's Favorite Chili
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María's Favorite Chili

María’s Favorite Chili


  • Author: María
  • Total Time: 59 minute
  • Yield: 12 servings 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 lbs ground sirloin
  • 1 (1 1/2 lb) chuck roast, cut into 1/2” chunks
  • 1 (15 oz) can light kidney beans
  • 1 (15 oz) can dark kidney beans
  • 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes with habaneros
  • 1 (15 oz) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 large bell pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, diced
  • 1 poblano pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 810 C beef broth, divided
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp masa harina
  • 2 tbsp New Mexico chili powder
  • 2 tbsp seasoned salt
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp hot chili powder
  • 1 tbsp ancho chile powder
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp molasses
  • 1 tsp dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp Mexican oregano
  • 2 tsp kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1/2 tsp fish sauce

Instructions

Stovetop Instructions: 

  1. Add the roast chunks to a large mixing bowl and season them liberally with kosher salt. Sprinkle the flour and masa harina over the meat and toss, making sure each piece is coated. Shake the excess flour mixture off of the pieces, and reserve it. 
  2. Place a large dutch oven over medium-high heat and drizzle in a couple of teaspoons of vegetable oil. Add the pieces of roast in a single layer, making sure not to crowd the pan so all the meat will sear well – leave about a 1/2″ of space between them. Let cook undisturbed for 3 minutes, then flip and sear the other sides. 
  3. Continue in batches, until all the pieces have been seared, and set them aside to rest while you cook the ground sirloin. Add it to the dutch oven and sprinkle in the ancho chile powder along with a 1/2 tbsp each of seasoned salt, and garlic powder. Brown completely and drain any excess fat.
  4. Stir the diced onions and peppers into the ground beef and cook for 5-7 minutes, until the onions begin to brown around the edges. When they do, sprinkle the leftover flour mixture – the stuff you used to coat the chuck roast pieces before searing – over the top, and stir that in. Stir until you don’t see any streaks of flour. 
  5. Now, pour in the cans of diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, molasses, fish sauce, liquid smoke, brown sugar, and all remaining seasonings. Stir it all together, then stir in 8 cups of the beef broth. Taste and if needed, adjust the flavor with more seasoned salt if bland or brown sugar if tart/acidic/bitter. Bring the chili to a rolling boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cover with a lid. Let cook for 2 hours, undisturbed.
  6. After two hours, remove the lid and use a spoon to skim off the grease that’s pooling on the surface. After you’ve removed as much as you can, go ahead stir everything a few times, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pot as you go. Taste it again, and adjust for salt or sugar, if needed. Cover and continue cooking for another hour, undisturbed.
  7. After another hour has passed, remove the lid and once again skim off any grease pooled on top. If you like a looser chili, go ahead and add extra beef broth, up to the entire two cups. Next, grab a piece of chuck roast and see if you can smash it apart with a spoon: if you can, go ahead and add the kidney beans if you’re using them. Let the chili come to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low and cover again. Continue cooking for another couple of hours, until the chili has darkened in color and the mixture has thickened. Dassit! 

Slow-Cooker Instructions: 

  1. Add the roast chunks to a large mixing bowl and season them liberally with kosher salt. Sprinkle the flour and masa harina over the meat and toss, making sure each piece is coated. 
  2. Place a large dutch oven over medium-high heat – or if your slow cooker has a saute setting, use that – and drizzle in a couple of teaspoons of vegetable oil. Let it heat until the oil is shimmering.
  3. Add the pieces of roast in a single layer, making sure not to crowd the pan so all the meat will sear well – leave about a 1/2″ of space between them. Let cook undisturbed for 3 minutes, then flip and sear the other sides. 
  4. Continue in batches, until all the pieces have been seared, and set them aside to rest while you cook the ground sirloin. Add it to the dutch oven and sprinkle in the ancho chile powder along with a 1/2 tbsp each of seasoned salt, and garlic powder. Brown completely and drain any excess fat.
  5. Stir the diced onions and peppers into the ground beef and cook for 5-7 minutes, until the onions begin to brown around the edges.
  6. Heat a few teaspoons of olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet and add the beef in batches, searing on all sides.
  7. When all the chunks and done add the ground beef. Season with 1/2 tbsp each of chili powder, seasoned salt, and garlic powder. Brown completely and drain the fat.
  8. Add your diced onions and piers and cook until the onions begin to brown.
  9. Add the veggies and meat to your crockpot, along with the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, molasses, fish sauce, liquid smoke, and all remaining seasonings. Then, pour in 9 cups of beef broth, reserving the rest in case you want to loosen the chili later. 
  10. Stir together and taste and adjust with more salt or brown sugar if needed. Cook on low for 4 hours.
  11. After 4 hours if you’re going to use the kidney beans and/or the extra broth, go ahead and stir them in. Cover and continue cooking for another 4 hours.
  12. When the meat is tender and the mixture has thickened back up a bit, it’s ready. If you added too much broth, or just want it a tad thicker, add a cornstarch slurry (1 tsp cornstarch mixed with 1 tsp cold water) and let cook for 10 minutes more.

Notes

  • This recipe is super versatile! Check out the post above for tips and suggestions on adjusting and substituting.
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5-8 hours
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