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Chili Con Carne for Two (Texas Chili)


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This is from my cookbook All in One Dutch Oven Cookbook for Two, which was published a few years back. Since I wrote the recipe, I've adapted a technique from Serious Eats for searing the beef. Rather than cube it before browning, I cut the beef into slices about 3/4 inch thick and sear the slices, then cube it after browning. It's easier to get a good sear on the two sides, and that provides enough fond and Maillard browning to flavor the chili. You can also do the actual cooking in a pressure cooker or multi-cooker; it takes about 25 minutes or so.


Makes 2 generous servings


1 pound beef shoulder (chuck), cut into 3/4-inch cubes and trimmed of as much fat as possible

Kosher salt

2 – 3 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil

1 medium onion, sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons ancho chile powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1/2 cup mild beer

1-1/2 cups low-sodium beef or chicken stock

1/4 cup tomato sauce

1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced, plus 2 teaspoons adobo sauce


Liberally salt the beef cubes.


Place the Dutch oven over medium heat. Add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pot and heat until the oil shimmers and flows like water. Add half the beef cubes in a single layer and cook for 2 to 3 minutes without stirring, until the first side is browned. Turn and brown at least one other side of the cubes. Remove the beef to a plate.


Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, for 4 to 6 minutes, or until browned slightly. Stir in the ancho chile powder, cumin, oregano and black pepper and cook for a minute or so, until the spices become fragrant. Pour in the beer and bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Reduce by about half, then add the beef stock, tomato sauce, minced chipotle and adobo sauce. Add the seared and raw beef and stir to coat. Bring the liquid to a simmer.


Cover the Dutch oven and turn the heat to medium low to maintain a simmer. Cook for 45 to 60 minutes, stirring occasionally. After 45 minutes, check a piece of beef. The beef should be tender enough to cut with a fork; if not, continue to cook for another 15 to 20 minutes. When the beef is tender, remove the lid and let cool for 15 minutes or so to let any fat rise to the surface. Spoon or blot it off. Bring the chili back to a simmer to reduce the sauce slightly, until it’s the consistency of gravy. Serve with chopped onions, grated cheese or sour cream, if desired.

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