Tex-Mex Chili 8.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post; tableware from Crate and Barrel

Jan 29, 2014

This Tex-Mex chili pumps up the "Mex" by reducing the cumin and upping the pepper flavor in several ways.

Make Ahead: The chili can be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for up 6 months.

8 - 10

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 8-10 servings; makes a generous 11 cups

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 pound beef stew meat, cubed or cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 pound lean ground pork or lean ground beef
  • Kosher salt or sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium white onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, cored, seeded then coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped jalapeño pepper (seeding optional)
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon mild or hot paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder or chipotle chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon sauce from canned chipotles in adobo, or more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 28 ounces canned, crushed, no-salt-added tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • 4 cups no-salt-added beef broth
  • 30 ounces no-salt-added, homemade or canned pinto beans (drained and rinsed, if using canned; about 4 cups)
  • Sour cream, for garnish
  • Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
  • Shredded cheddar cheese, for garnish
  • Crushed tortilla chips, for garnish
  • Thinly sliced scallions, for garnish


Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a large Dutch oven or wide, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the chunks of beef. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until the meat releases from the surface. Stir so the meat begins to brown on all sides, then add the ground pork or ground beef. Season lightly with salt and black pepper; cook for 5 or 6 minutes, stirring, so the ground meat browns and loses its raw look and its juices evaporate.

Clear a space at the center of the pot; add the remaining tablespoon of oil, then the onion, red bell pepper and jalapeño pepper, stirring to coat. Cook for 5 minutes or until the vegetables begin to soften, stirring frequently to keep them from scorching.

Clear a space at the center again; add the garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, paprika, chili powder, adobo, cumin and oregano, stirring to incorporate. Stir in the tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, brown sugar and vinegar; cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring a few times, to form a thickened mixture.

Stir in the broth; once the mixture starts to bubble vigorously, reduce the heat to medium. Stir in the beans. Reduce the heat to medium-low to maintain a low boil; cook, uncovered, for 1 hour, stirring occasionally; for a thicker chili, add up to 15 minutes to the cooking time. Taste, and add adobo, salt and pepper as needed.

Divide among individual bowls. Serve the sour cream, cilantro, shredded cheddar cheese, tortilla chips and scallions at the table, so guests can garnish their own portions.

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Recipe Source

From Pati Jinich, host of "Pati's Mexican Table" on public television stations nationwide, author of "Pati's Mexican Table," chef and cooking teacher at Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington.

Tested by Jane Touzalin.

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Email questions to the Food Section at food@washpost.com.