Did you know this all-American comfort food originated from Texas? It’s one of the first Tex-Mex foods that borrowed its flavor profile from Mexican cuisine. Sources claim that the very first chilis didn’t have beans or tomatoes. They were made from just meat and dehydrated paste made from chilies and aromatics, that travelers could cook while on the road. While embarking on a journey to make the perfect chili, we stumbled upon Mexican recipes for adobo marinades that really reminded us of the flavor profile of Texas chili. The blend of chilies, garlic, oregano, cumin, and vinegar is nearly identical to old-time adobo recipes. What if we used adobo for this classical American recipe? We tried it and… IT WORKED! What resulted was the most amazing and delicious chili we have ever tasted.
Many recipes try to emulate the chocolate flavor of Ancho chilies by using actual chocolate. However, most chili recipes call for plain “chili powder” or “ancho chili powder,” which on their own lack the complexity of the chili blend that we are using. You can find these chilies at your local Latino grocer, so give it a try! You will make the best chili you’d have ever tasted! I promise.
- 1 tablespoon schmaltz, lard, or vegetable oil (Add another tablespoon of oil if using lean protein)
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth (homemade is better, but canned works too)
- 5 dried ancho chilies
- 3 dried guajillo chilies
- 2 dried pasilla chilies (pasilla negro)
- 1 dried morita (chipotle) chili
- 1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano (Italian works too)
- 8 whole garlic cloves
- 2 pounds ground beef or chicken
- 1 15-oz can diced tomatoes, no-salt added
- 1 15-oz can black beans
- 1 15-oz can kidney or pinto beans
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
- 1-2 jalapeños, halved, optional
- 2 teaspoon Kosher salt, plus more to taste
- Few grinds of black pepper, to taste
- Arroz con Gandules, red rice, or steamed long grain rice
- Pinch of high quality sea salt (enhances taste)
- Sour cream
- Remove the pith and seeds from the dried chilies (Ancho, guajillo, pasilla, and morita). USE GLOVES! Don’t be like me. Be smart. Be safe. Set aside.
- Toast cumin seeds on medium heat until fragrant (2 minutes). Grind and set aside. Then toast coriander seeds until fragrant, about 1 minute. Grind and set aside with the rest of the spices.
- In a Dutch oven or other oven-safe pot, heat up 1 tablespoon of lard or vegetable oil, and sauté the onions until golden brown in color.
- Add the low-sodium chicken broth (should be about a can) and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add all the dried chilies, cover, turn off the heat, and let soften for 30 minutes.
- Remove softened chilies and blend together with garlic cloves and spices, until a thick paste is formed.
- In the pot, add ground meat and sauté until it loses its pink color. Break apart as you stir.
- Now add your tomatoes, beans, paste, salt, pepper, bay leaf, vinegar, and halved jalapeños if using. Give it a good stir to combine.
- Cover pot and simmer on the stovetop for 45 minutes. Adjust seasoning if necessary.
This chili will taste great immediately, but will taste even better the next day. Let me know in the comments what you think of this very special chili recipe!