Food & Entertaining

Fabulous Red Beef Chili

Fabulous red beef chili

I’m not exaggerating when I say that this is hands down the most delicious beef chili I’ve ever tried! The sauce is rich and layered. The meat is tender. It has just the right amount of kick. Perfect for warming your cockles on a cold, winter’s day!

I keep telling my husband that he should enter it into one of those chili cook-off competitions. It really is that good.

An added advantage of this recipe (which has been adapted from Bobby Flay’s) is that once all the beef is gone, you can use the remaining sauce in other dishes such as tacos or sloppy joes.

You’ll probably have many of the ingredients needed already in your pantry (take a look here for my ultimate checklist of pantry essentials). In our case, living in Atlanta, it also requires a trip to the local Mexican grocery store, for a couple of the more exotic chili peppers. But that’s always fun!

Read on for the full recipe…

Total time required:

Prep time: 30 mins

Cooking time: 2 hrs

What you’ll need:
  • 7 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 4 – 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon seeded and chopped habanero (optional)
  • 1 Thai bird chile, seeded and chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 jalapeno, seeded and chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 poblano, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon cascabel chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon pasilla chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon New Mexican or guajillo chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle pepper puree (canned chipotle in adobo sauce is available in most grocery stores)
  • 5 cups homemade chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
  • One 16-ounce can whole tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 – 3 pounds chuck, cut into 1/2 -inch cubes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • One 12-ounce bottle dark beer (we like to use Guinness)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped semisweet chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup, or more as needed

Red beef chiliIn a large saucepan or soup pot over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons olive oil.  When the oil is hot, add the onions and cook until soft and starting to caramelize.  Next, add the garlic, the habanero, Thai bird, jalapeno and poblano peppers (if using) and cook until soft, about 5 – 7 minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic.

Then add the ancho, cascabel, pasilla, New Mexican/guajillo chile powders and the chipotle pepper puree.  Cook for an additional 2 – 3 minutes to toast the spices.

Finally, add the chicken stock, tomatoes and all the juice, and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a rapid simmer, and cook until slightly thickened (20 to 25 minutes) stirring occasionally to ensure it doesn’t stick.  Puree with an immersion blender to get a nice smooth consistency and set on low heat to keep warm.

While the chili sauce is keeping warm, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat. Sprinkle the beef with salt and pepper and add one-third of the meat to the pan, so as not to crowd the pan, and sauté until browned on all sides. Remove with slotted spoon to a plate, and repeat with the remaining meat, draining any excess liquid from the pan between the batches if needed. Return all the meat to the pan, sprinkle with the cumin and stir well to toast the cumin.

Deglaze the pan with the beer and bring to a boil. Cook until the beer is almost completely reduced.

Add the chili sauce mixture to the meat, reduce the heat to medium/low, cover and simmer until the chili is thick and the beef is tender. This will take somewhere between 1.5 – 2 hours.

If the chili has too much liquid, you can continue cooking uncovered to thicken it up (for about 15 minutes).  However, don’t reduce it too much, as you’re going to want to make other delicious dishes with the leftover chili sauce. Test the beef for tenderness.

Last of all, remove from the heat, add in the chocolate and maple syrup and stir until the chocolate is melted and combined.  Add salt and pepper as needed to taste.

The chili is delicious on its own.  However, we typically serve over rice, top with sour cream and sprinkle with Mexican cheese blend.  We also love to have tortilla chips on hand to dip and crunch!

Red beef chili

  • The chili has a good kick without adding the extremely hot habanero, jalapeno, and Thai bird chilies. However, if you want SUPER heat, go ahead and add.  They just add heat, not more flavor.
  • Just about every city/town these days has a great selection of ethnic grocery stores. The Ancho, Cascabel, Pasilla, Chipotle puree, and Guijillo chilies used in this recipe are critical to the rich flavor (as is rich homemade chicken stock if you have it). So, take a quick trip to your local Mexican grocery or similar market, buy the dry chilies, and make the powder yourself.

There are multiple reasons for this… the whole dried chilies are inexpensive, they keep forever, and the resulting powders are much more intense than the canned versions.

However, most importantly, you’ll not likely find any of the chili powders (except Ancho) in a can. Furthermore, you can combine the leftover chili powders in a zip-top bag and use in any recipe that calls for a sprinkling of chili powder.

Red beef chili

  • To make the chili powder(s), simply remove the hard stem, cut the chili in small pieces and tip the pieces, along with all the seeds, into a frying pan and slowly toast for a few minutes over medium heat to bring out the essential oils.  Let them cool and grind up in a spice or coffee grinder.  Voila! Fresh, super flavorful chili powder, at a fraction of the cost.
  • Any remaining chili sauce makes amazing tacos or sloppy joes. After we’ve eaten all the chili meat, I’ll caramelize an onion, add 1 lb ground chuck and brown.  Then add the chili sauce to the desired consistency.  The beef makes a great base for beef tacos or pop on a bun for incredible sloppy joes.

I really hope that you love this recipe as much as we do… let me know!

Share on
Previous Post Next Post

You may also like


  • Reply Coleen

    i’m always looking for a good chili! I’ll be printing this one for those cold winter evenings.

    March 9, 2017 at 10:24 pm
    • Reply Polly

      You’re welcome Coleen… this one always turns out soooo yummy!

      March 11, 2017 at 2:16 pm
  • Reply Stephanie | Adventures in Aussieland

    This looks soooo amazing!! Definitely going to have to use this recipe the next time I make chili!

    March 10, 2017 at 7:40 am
    • Reply Polly

      Let me know how it turns out!

      March 11, 2017 at 2:20 pm

    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.