Beef & Black Bean Chili
by Molly Stevens, Cooking Teacher & Author, , Burlington, Vt.
Chili reaches new heights when you make it using meaty chunks of Piedmontese beef instead of the usual ground beef. Here the beef is paired with black beans, peppers, and a whole lot of spice for a stew with gentle heat and rich flavor. Control the heat level by adding more or fewer chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup (4 ounces) chopped onion
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon paprika, sweet or hot
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch brown sugar
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 chipotle pepper, stemmed and minced, plus 1 teaspoon adobo sauce (from a can of chipotles in adobo sauce), or more to taste
- 1 pound Certified Piedmontese stew meat
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 to 2 poblano peppers, seeded and chopped
- 1 cup beer, preferably lager
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
- 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- Hot sauce, as needed
- Optional garnishes: chopped cilantro, diced avocado, chopped pickled jalapeños, crumbled queso fresco, sliced green onions
In a medium stew pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, chili powder, cumin, oregano, paprika, salt, cinnamon, and sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic along with the chipotle and adobo sauce. Sauté for another minute.
Add the beef, and stir gently to thoroughly coat the meat with the onions and spices. Stir in the bell pepper and poblano. Pour in the beer, stir once or twice, and bring to a gentle boil. Stir in the tomatoes and beans, and bring to a gentle simmer. Partially cover and simmer gently for 30 to 40 minutes. Remove the cover and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the beef is tender, about 1 to 1½ hours. Add the vinegar, cover, and let sit for at least 20 minutes before serving. (The chili can be made ahead up until this point and refrigerated for 2 to 3 days.)
Just before serving, taste for salt and spice; add a few splashes of hot sauce if you like a spicier chili. Top each bowl as desired with any optional garnishes. Cornbread, flour tortillas, or corn tortillas also make excellent accompaniments.
Pairing: A favorite lager or a lighter Belgian ale. A sangria or a lighter-bodied red from Spain or Italy would also pair nicely.