|Some say beans don't go in chili. I think this guy would eat anything in front of him.|
We're home on the range tonight, or is it the Donner Pass? Being stuck inside during a historic snowstorm calls for improvisation, or in this case, a return to basics. Meat? Check. Dried chilis? Check. Can o' beans? Check. Chili here we come!
2 lbs. ground or finely chopped beef
1 large onion, chopped
2 Tbsp. bacon grease (you can also add some bacon)
3 dried ancho chilis
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. Mexican oregano
2 Tbsp. salt
1 can of chili beans (optional) or 1 can tomato sauce
Honestly, I was out of chili powder, so I had to make the chili sauce from scratch. I added the beans mainly for liquid, but you could use tomatoes instead (or in addition).
Brown the meat in the bacon grease, seasoning it with some salt and black pepper. I like to pressure cook it for 10 minutes to make it more tender.
Cut the chilies open (kitchen scissors are good for this) and scrape out the seeds and remove the stems. Cover with just enough water to submerge and simmer for 10 minutes. Save the chili water and place the drained chilies in a blender or food processor with the garlic, black pepper, cumin, oregano, and 1 Tbsp. salt. Blend until smooth, adding just enough of the chili water to make a thick sauce. If the chili water tastes too bitter, use plain water instead.
Drain most of the excess liquid and fat off of the meat. Add the onions and chili sauce, and stir to coat. Add the chili beans with their liquid, and/or the tomato sauce. If the chili is too thick, add some water. Adjust the salt to taste.
I made mine all fancy-like with some chopped onions, peppers, cheddar cheese, and Yankee corn bread. I'm not sure if the cowboys would be appalled or if they would just gobble it up.