Chili Con Carne 4.000

Julia Ewan/The Washington Post

Smackdown I Jan 31, 2007

With only one kind of chili pepper but at least 6 hours of simmering, it's got the round flavors and slow-burning heat that define a "bowl o' red." If you want something hotter, add up to 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, to taste.

This chili can be made in advance, transferred to an airtight container and refrigerated for up to 4 days or frozen for up to 1 month. (Skim congealed fat before reheating.) Serve with saltines, grated cheddar cheese, chopped onions and, if desired, pinto beans -- on the side, of course. It also makes fantastic chili dogs and chili burgers.

Servings: 4
  • 6 dried ancho chili peppers, rinsed
  • 4 cups hot water, plus more as needed
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 to 2 1/4 pounds lean stew meat or chuck roast (trimmed of excess fat), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • Cayenne pepper (optional)


Cut or tear apart the ancho chili peppers, discarding the seeds and stems. Place in a dry skillet over medium heat and toast for 5 minutes, just until fragrant, without allowing them to char. Transfer to a blender, add 1 cup of the water and blend until smooth. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Season the meat generously with salt and pepper to taste, then add just enough meat to the pot to avoid overcrowding. Cook in batches, stirring frequently, for 3 to 4 minutes each, or until the meat starts to brown.

Return all the meat to the pot, add the garlic and cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly, until the meat has browned all over and the garlic has softened. Reduce the heat to medium; add the onion powder, stirring to mix well. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the oregano, cumin and reserved ancho chili puree, stirring to combine. Add enough water to cover the meat by 1 inch (about 3 cups). Cover the pot and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 6 hours, stirring occasionally, then uncover and use a spatula to mash and break up the meat. Cook, uncovered, for another hour or two or until the chili has become quite thick and the meat has almost melted into the liquid. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and cayenne pepper, if desired. Serve warm, with accompaniments of your choice.

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Recipe Source

Joe Yonan's older brother, Michael, who lives in Ballinger, Texas, developed this recipe for The Post when asked to come up with a simplified version of a purist's chili.

Tested by Joe Yonan.

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