Beef Chili with Beans


"Chili means Halloween to me," Grant Achatz says. When he was growing up, his mother would always serve it to him and his cousins before they went trick or treating as a way to counteract the sugar buzz to come. The smoky, spicy version here is a slightly modified version of his mother's chili, made with ancho, pasilla and chipotle powders, plus a homemade blend of seasonings and fresh herbs. More Comfort Food Recipes

Beef Chili with Beans
Photo: © John Kernick
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 30 mins


  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 3 pounds ground beef chuck

  • 2 large onions, finely chopped

  • 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped

  • 5 garlic cloves, minced

  • 3 tablespoons pure ancho chile powder

  • 3 tablespoons pure pasilla chile powder

  • 3 tablespoons ground cumin

  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • 2 teaspoons chopped thyme

  • 2 teaspoons chopped oregano

  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 3 cups low-sodium beef broth

  • One 15-ounce can pinto beans

  • One 14-ounce can diced tomatoes with the juices

  • 5 chipotle chiles in adobo, seeded and finely chopped

  • 1 cup tomato sauce

  • 1/4 cup tomato paste

  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar

  • Juice of 1 lime

  • Salt


  1. In a large, heavy pot or a medium enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the oil. Add half of the ground beef and cook over high heat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 5 minutes; transfer to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Brown the remaining ground beef. Return the first batch of browned beef to the pot.

  2. Add the onions and pepper to the pot and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, chile powders, cumin, coriander, sugar, thyme, oregano, black pepper and cayenne and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  3. Stir in the beef broth, pinto beans, tomatoes, chipotles, tomato sauce, tomato paste and the vinegar. Simmer the chili over low heat for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Add the lime juice, season with salt and serve.

Make Ahead

The chili can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Suggested Pairing

This spicy beef-and-bean chili needs a wine that can stand up to its bold flavors, like a California Zinfandel.

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