Ground meat ends up as a diet staple for any meat farmer—there’s no avoiding its excesses when harvesting your own animals—and having some delicious go-to recipes will transform its utility. This recipe is serious American comfort food. An all-beef, no-fuss chili that is deceivingly simple to make—you could go so far as to call it a weekday recipe — yet delicious beyond expectation. Eat it as an entrée, topped with sour cream, cheese, and maybe some pickled jalapeños, and a side of crusty bread to soak up the juices; use it as a condiment for fries, hot dogs, or wherever its addition will improve the dish. It’s geared toward the northernstyle chili, recognizable with the inclusion of beans, but its approachable flavors are sure to please any crowd. Leftovers are a must, as it gets better by day two or three, so double the recipe and look forward to tomorrow’s lunch.
Honestly, any cut of beef will work with this recipe, but some cuts will incrementally increase the deliciousness: shank, brisket, or chuck, in order of preference. To get a coarse grind pass it once through a 3/8 – 1/2 inch die.
All Beef Chili
Yields 4 servings (as an entree)
1 tablespoon lard, tallow, or vegetable oil
1 1/2 pounds coarsely ground beef
1 medium yellow onion, diced (3/4 cup)
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped or pressed (1 1/2 teaspoons)
2 cups beef stock
2 (15-ounce) cans of pinto or kidney beans, drained (see note)
1 (15-ounce) can of crushed tomatoes
2 heaping teaspoons kosher salt, plus more
1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
Avocado, diced or sliced
Cheddar or other sharp cheese, shredded
Pickled jalapeno, asparagus or ramps
Red onions, diced
Heat the lard in a large pot (a dutch oven is ideal) over medium heat until wisps of smoke begin to rise. Toss in the beef, onions, and garlic, and cook until beef is evenly browned, about 5 to 7 minutes. As the beef browns, break it up into small pieces. Follow by adding the stock, beans, tomatoes, salt, chili powder, cumin, pepper, oregano, and bay leaf. Stir well to combine and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat and maintain a very low simmer, cooking uncovered for 35 to 45 minutes, with longer cook times resulting in a thicker chili. Remove from heat, season with salt, and serve in shallow bowls topped with condiments.
Note: Dry beans can be used in this recipe. Soak 2 cups of dry beans overnight and then cook in water until soft. Drain and use instead of canned beans. The liquid from cooked or canned beans can be saved to help adjust the final thickness of the chili while also adding a deeper bean flavor.