Super-Chunk Chipotle Chili

Makes10-12 servings
  • Active time: 45 min
    Total time: 4 hr
Chili is often flavored with dried Mexican chiles, but this chili recipe requires no special ingredients beyond chipotle chiles in adobo, which are available at most supermarkets these days. They add a nice punch of heat and smoke to this manly main with its big chunks of boneless chuck.
Published in Gourmet Live 12.19.10


  • 1/2 pound sliced bacon, chopped
  • 5 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 1-to 1 1/2-inch chunks
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 medium onions, chopped
  • 3 red bell peppers, chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoon (sweet) paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoon dried oregano, crumbled
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes in juice
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped canned chipotle chiles in adobo
  • 2 (15-to 19-ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained


  • diced white onion
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • sour cream
  • tortilla chips
  • chopped cilantro


  • Cook bacon in a 6-to 8-qt heavy pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until browned, 6 to 8 minutes. While bacon is cooking, season beef with 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.
  • Transfer bacon with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Increase heat to medium-high and brown beef in fat in pot, in 4 or more batches without crowding, about 6 minutes per batch. Transfer meat as browned to a plate.
  • Pour off all but 3 tablespoons fat from pot (add vegetable oil if you don’t have enough fat left), then add onions, peppers, and garlic. Sauté vegetables, stirring occasionally, until they begin to brown, 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Stir in paprika and cumin and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Return beef to pot along with any juices accumulated on the plate. Stir in oregano, bay leaf, tomatoes with juice, and chipotle to taste. Bring liquid to a simmer, breaking up tomatoes with a wooden spoon, and cover pot.
  • Adjust heat to keep it at a simmer and continue to simmer, covered, stirring occasionally and breaking up tomatoes with spoon, until beef is very tender, 2 3/4 to 3 1/4 hours.
  • Uncover pot and increase heat to a boil. Boil, stirring frequently, until chili is slightly thickened, 10 to 15 minutes. Skim fat if desired.
  • Stir in kidney beans and season with salt and pepper, then simmer until beans are heated through, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with reserved bacon.
  • To serve, surround the chili with bowls of the accompaniments and let your guests personalize their servings of chili with the toppings of their choice.


  • Chili improves in flavor if made at least 1 day ahead. Chili can be made up to 4 days ahead; cool, uncovered, before chilling, covered.
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