RANCHERO STYLE CHILI
- 1 pound dried black beans or pinto beans, soaked overnight
- 1 large onion peeled and halved, half of the onion chopped
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 to 2 tablespoons rendered lard, bacon fat, tallow or neutral cooking oil such as canola
- 1 pound sirloin, tri-tip, flat-iron or flank steak, cut into large cubes (about 1 ½ inches)
- 1 pound ground beef
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 tablespoon Ancho chili powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 4oz. tomato paste
- 1 28oz can chopped tomatoes, with the juices
- 2 cups beef, chicken, or vegetable stock
- 3/4 cups cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup masa harina corn flour
- 1/2 cup water
- Kosher salt, 1 tablespoon or to your taste (optional)
- Crumbled Queso Fresco, chopped green onions, cilantro, lime wedges, and salsa
1. In a large saucepan, combine the beans, half an onion (reserve the chopped onion), and bay leaves; cover with cold water. Bring to a simmer and cook until beans are tender, about 1 ½ hours.
2. While the beans are cooking, begin the chili base: Over medium heat, heat a large heavy-bottomed stock pot or Dutch oven. Add the tablespoon of rendered fat or cooking oil and heat until the fat is shimmering. Add the beef cubes and sauté in the hot oil until browned, stirring occasionally.
After the beef is sautéed push it to one side, add the chopped onion and sauté until the onion is translucent. Remove the beef and onions with a slotted spoon and reserve.
Begin adding the ground beef to the pot a small amount at a time so as to not crowd the pot (add more fat if needed). Try to get a nice brown color on all the beef.
Push the ground beef to one side of the pot and add the garlic. As soon as you can smell the garlic, mix in the ground beef and begin breaking the beef up with the back of a wooden spoon, incorporating the garlic into the ground beef.
3. Return the chopped beef and onions to the pot and thoroughly stir in the chili, cumin, oregano, and smoked paprika. Stir in the tomato paste. Stir in the canned tomatoes, stock, and cider vinegar.
Cover the pot and reduce the heat to low. Simmer the mixture gently while the beans cook, stirring occasionally. Check the mixture occasionally, and if it seems to be getting too dry, add a half cup of water or more stock. Allow this mixture to simmer on low for about 2 hours or until the beans are tender.
4. In a small bowl, use a fork to mix the masa harina with the water. Add the masa to the chili/beef/tomato mixture and mix well to combine and thicken the chili base. Simmer for a minimum of 5 minutes to cook the corn flour.
When the beans are cooked, strain (reserving the liquid) and incorporate them into the chili and simmer gently for another 30 minutes to allow the flavors to marry. If your chili mixture is really thick, use some of the bean liquid to thin it out a bit. If the chili mixture is too “soupy” for your liking, just simmer to reduce more of the liquid. Make sure to reserve the drained bean liquid for another use, it’s great as a soup base or a braising liquid for pork or chicken!
Taste for seasoning and add kosher salt if desired. Serve with the crumbled queso fresco, chopped green onions, chopped cilantro, lime wedges and salsa.
This recipe is makes enough for leftovers, because this rib-sticking’ chili is even tastier the next day!