Serves: Makes 4 to 6 servings
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 pounds ground beef (80 to 85% lean, if possible)
- 1½ tablespoons coarse salt, or more to taste
- 2 cups chopped yellow onions
- 2 medium Anaheim or other mild medium chiles, seeded and chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons mild chile powder
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes with juices
- 2 (15-ounce) cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained
- 6 (4-inch) stems cilantro
- 1 cup low-sodium beef broth
- 2 tablespoons molasses (optional)
- ½ cup sour cream or Mexican crema
- 1 teaspoon adobo sauce from a can of chipotle chiles, or more to taste (freeze the leftover sauce and chiles for later use)
- ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- 6 lime wedges
Procedures:We’re not even going to touch the debate about what constitutes “real” chili. We just know that this easy-to-make, family-friendly version is hearty and delicious.
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a slow cooker over medium-high heat. Add the beef, season with 2 teaspoons of the salt, and cook, stirring frequently, until the meat has lost its pink color, about 5 minutes. Don’t let the beef actually brown. Scrape the meat from the cooker to a strainer set over a bowl and drain, then cover and refrigerate while preparing the rest of the ingredients.
Add the rest of the oil to the slow cooker. Toss in the onions and 1 more teaspoon salt. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft and fragrant, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the Anaheim chiles and continue cooking until all the vegetables are soft and just starting to brown around the edges, another 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic, chile powder, smoked paprika, and cumin and cook for another minute, stirring and scraping so the spices fry slightly in the oil.
Add the tomatoes and their juices, breaking them up into bite-sized pieces with a wooden spoon or a potato masher. Add the beans, cilantro stems, beef broth, molasses (if using), and remaining teaspoon salt. Stir together, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, uncovered, until thickened and rich tasting, 45 to 55 minutes. Add back the beef and simmer for another 15 minutes. Taste and adjust the salt and spices.
Stir the sour cream and adobo sauce together, taste, and adjust the heat level. Serve the chili in bowls with a spoonful of the cream and chopped cilantro on top and a wedge of lime on the side.