Low and Slow Chili

January 2023 View more

By Kelli Ra Anderson

Some DIY details transforms this versatile dish

Low and Slow Chili

MAKES 6 to 8 Servings


4 pounds ground beef (no leaner than 85 percent, or try minced short rib)
1 pound dried pinto beans (or three 15-ounce cans, drained)
3 large onions, diced
1 large poblano pepper, seeded, and diced (or four 4-ounce cans diced mild green chiles)
2 dried large ancho chiles
2 dried large guajillo chiles
2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
6 cloves garlic, minced
3½ pounds fresh, diced tomato (or two 28-ounce cans diced tomatoes)
4 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
¼ cup chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoon ground coriander
2 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon dried Mexican oregano (has a more citrus flavor than Greek oregano)
1 tablespoon Tajin Chili Lime seasoning or white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Chili ingredients


1. Rinse the pinto beans and soak in salted water (1 tablespoon per quart) for a minimum of 8 hours. Rinse, drain, and place beans in a lidded pot. Add 10 cups of water and 2 tablespoons of kosher salt. Bring to a boil then simmer, covered, on low heat for 2 hours or until firm and tender. Drain, reserving 1 cup liquid. Set aside.

2. Heat oven to 450. Remove chile stems and discard the seeds. Place chiles on a baking sheet and toast for 4 minutes. Remove, place in a bowl and cover with boiling water for 15 to 30 minutes to soften. Strain off the water, add cocoa powder and chopped garlic. Puree with an immersion blender or food processor. Set aside.

3. Heat a large, heavy pot and add 2 tablespoons of oil. Sear the beef in small batches to brown and build flavor (avoid steaming). Remove and set aside.

4. Saute the onions and poblano pepper in the same pot for 2 to 3 minutes or until a caramelized fond begins to build up on the bottom. Add a splash of oil before adding the chile powder, cumin and coriander, stirring for about 30 seconds to release complex, fat-soluble flavors.

5. Add the tomatoes with juice to deglaze the pan. Add the chiles/garlic purée, chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, tomato paste, brown sugar, cocoa, and oregano.

6. Return the meat to the pot, cover, and cook in a preheated oven at 275 for 1½ hours. Remove the lid, stir, and return to the oven, uncovered for 45 minutes. (Or, on the stovetop, bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, covered, for two hours, stirring occasionally. Remove the lid and simmer for an additional 30 minutes.)

7. Remove the chili from the oven or stovetop. Add the beans and stir in the Tajin seasoning or white wine vinegar for brightness. If the resulting chili is too thick, thin it with reserved bean water. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

PRO TIP: Looking for the perfect amount of heat? Add your favorite hot sauce or diced hot pepper at the end of the process to control the Scoville levels for just the right kick.


Photos courtesy of Kellira Media