The first time I'd ever had chili, it came from a can. It was Hormel's No Beans Chili and I would serve it with slices of French bread. After my husband and I got married, that was the sort of dinner I would prepare, and I thought it was mighty good! Go to the grocery store, buy a couple cans of Hormel's, grab a loaf of French bread from the bakery section and WALAA! Dinner is served! To be fancier and more authentic than French bread, I would swap it with flour tortillas! Is that cooking genius or what??
Nevertheless, this is yet another example that makes my husband so happy that I now know how to cook. 😉 My boys are also happy that they missed that whole phase.
Chunky Chipotle Chili Con Carne is hearty, meaty, flavorful, and NOT from a can! It is full of simple ingredients and is not overloaded with sodium. Also, as I had mentioned, I used to buy the "No Beans" version of Hormel's chili, so my recipe does not have beans. I actually don't mind having beans in chili. However, if given the choice, I'll take the bean-less version which is also what my family prefers.
In learning how to make my own chili, I realized (the hard way, of course) that spiciness does not register immediately after you add the chili peppers and chili powder to the pot. I once added chili powder, found it wasn't spicy enough after tasting it immediately, and added more. Needless to say, I had tears in my eyes and my mouth was burning when I ate it a couple of hours later! So be sure to avoid the mistakes I made! Wait a good hour after adding the chili peppers and spices before doing a taste test.
My Chunky Chipotle Chili Con Carne recipe suggests approximately 2 hours of simmering time. In those 2 hours, the spices will have a chance to meld with the rest of the ingredients to develop a deep, hearty chili flavor. The chipotle peppers add a smoky spiciness to the chili instead of it just being plain spicy. And you will notice that there is cocoa in the recipe! Surprisingly, the cocoa adds a certain depth and extra special something to the chili that makes it that much more flavorful. I can't explain the science of it, but all I can say is that it works.
Garnish the chili with grated cheddar and fresh avocado and serve it with tortilla chips and a salad. Alternatively, dollop some chili over hot dogs, or over a bowl of hot polenta. Top a heap of tortilla chips with chili and cheese and slices of hot chili peppers. Give it a quick broil, and you've got chili nachos for the crowd!
Try making a batch of this Chunky Chipotle Chili Con Carne the next time you have a crowd to feed. If you prefer beans in your chili, add some to the pot! Do you like your chili fire-alarm spicy? Go ahead and add an extra chipotle pepper or another teaspoon of chili powder! (Just remember to increment the spicy ingredients slowly!) Either way, get making this chili and leave a comment below!
Chunky Chipotle Chili Con Carne
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 medium onion chopped fine
- 3 cloves garlic chopped
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon cocoa
- 1 ¼ teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon packed brown sugar
- 2 chipotle peppers with adobo sauce chopped up
- 2 cans chopped tomatoes
- 1 ½ cups beef broth
- Salt, to taste
- Grated cheddar
- Sliced avocado
- Sour cream
- Tortilla chip strips
- Chopped green onions
- In large saucepan or pot over medium-high heat, add about 1 tablespoon of oil. Add half the ground beef, spreading it evenly and cook so that it is browned. Remove from the pot, and repeat with another tablespoon and the rest of the ground beef. Remove all the beef from the pot.
- Reduce the heat to medium and add another tablespoon of oil. Fry the diced onions about one minute until fragrant. Add the minced garlic and cook another minute. Add the tomato paste.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, chipotle peppers and adobo sauce, cocoa powder, chili powder, cumin, brown sugar, and black pepper. Stir to combine, being sure to scrape the bottom of the pot to get the browned beef bits. Add the ground beef back to the pot and stir.
- Add the beef broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, place a lid on the pot, leaving it slightly uncovered, and let the chili simmer for 2 hours.
- Taste the chili and add salt or more of the other seasonings as necessary. If the chili is too thick, add another ¼ cup of tomato sauce or beef broth.
- Scoop into bowls and top with grated cheese, sliced avocado, sour cream, or chopped green onions. Serve with cornbread or tortilla chips.
- If you want to add a can of beans to your chili, add another ½ cup of beef broth or tomato sauce to the pot so there is enough liquid to balance them.
- Adjust the amount of chipotle peppers and chili powder to suit your desired level of spiciness.
- Serve the chili with cornbread, bread sticks, tortilla chips, and/or a fresh salad!
- Store leftovers in a food container in the fridge and reheat leftovers in the microwave or in a pot on the stovetop.