It’s still so cold outside, let’s talk chili

mare_texas_beef_brisket_chili_vDrew and I came across this chili recipe in Bon Apetit this past Fall (photo above) and promptly made it for our pumpkin carving party and then again for ourselves, and Mom has made it for company a couple of times, and the universal agreement is that this is some pretty daggone good chili.  It does not have beans in it, though I think that they would be easily added if you’re a bean lover, and I recommend seeing if you can sweet talk the butcher into cubing the brisket for you, as that is not the most fun kitchen job.  Jo Ellen emailed this morning in search of this recipe too, and I thought, well let’s go on and put it on the blog.  We’ve been told that temperatures might brave the 40s for the first time in a while tomorrow, but even with that veritable heat wave, I think that chili season isn’t going anywhere for a while.


  • 6 large dried ancho chiles* (about 3 ounces), stemmed, seeded, coarsely torn
  • 6 oz bacon, diced
  • 1 1/4 pounds onions, chopped (about 4 cups)
  • 1 5-pound flat-cut (also called first-cut) beef brisket, cut into 2 1/2- to 3-inch cubes
  • Coarse kosher salt
  • 6 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 10-ounce cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes with green chiles (1 3/4 cups)
  • 1 12-ounce bottle Mexican beer
  • 1 7-ounce can diced roasted green chiles
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro stems
  • 4 cups 1 1/2- to 2-inch chunks seeded peeled butternut squash (from 3 1/2-pound squash)


  • Fresh cilantro leavesChopped red onionDiced avocadoShredded Monterey Jack cheeseWarm corn and/or flour tortillas



  • Place chiles in medium bowl. Pour enough boiling water over to cover. Soak until chiles soften, at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours.

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Sauté bacon in heavy large ovenproof pot over medium-high heat until beginning to brown. Add onions. Reduce heat to medium; cover and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle beef all over with coarse salt and pepper. Add to pot; stir to coat. Set aside.

  • Drain chiles, reserving soaking liquid. Place chiles in blender. Add 1 cup soaking liquid, garlic, chili powder, cumin seeds, oregano, coriander, and 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt; blend to puree, adding more soaking liquid by 1/4 cupfuls if very thick. Pour puree over brisket in pot. Add tomatoes with juices, beer, green chiles, and cilantro stems. Stir to coat evenly.

  • Bring chili to simmer. Cover and place in oven. Cook 2 hours. Uncover and cook until beef is almost tender, about 1 hour. Add squash; stir to coat. Roast uncovered until beef and squash are tender, adding more soaking liquid if needed to keep meat covered**, about 45 minutes longer. Season chili to taste with salt and pepper. Tilt pot and spoon off any fat from surface of sauce.

DO AHEAD Can be made 2 days ahead. Cool 1 hour. Chill uncovered until cold, then cover and keep chilled.

Set out garnishes in separate dishes. Rewarm chili over low heat. Ladle chili into bowls and serve

*Available at many supermarkets and at specialty foods stores and Latin marets

**Amelia’s note: I’ve found every time that I have made this that I need to add more liquid.  I’ve used some of the soaking liquid, and also some more beer to keep it moist.  In the end this is very hearty and chunky, so just add liquid to your taste/serving size.

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