Smokey Red Chili

A great variation on the classic bowl of red.


5 slices of bacon (chopped and crispy)
4 pounds beef chuck roast (trimmed of fat and cut into 3/4 inch cubes)
1.5 onions (chopped)
3 green jalapeno chiles (seeded, stemmed and minced)
1 red jalapeno chile (seeded, stemmed and minced)
2 tablespoons dark red (hot) chile powder (I order mine online from New Mexico)
2 tablespoons cumin (warmed in a pan, milled fresh from whole cumin seeds)
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 (28 oz) can of crushed tomatoes
6 (small) corn tortillas, torn into small squares
4 cups chicken broth
4 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, chopped
2 teaspoons sugar
2 cans pinto beans
3 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
1 cinnamon stick
1 dried red chile pod (warmed then milled)
1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon Mexican chocolate
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, minced
fresh lime juice
grated queso fresco
sour cream, for garnish


Cook the bacon in a large skillet until crisp.  Chop and add to the bottom of the slow cooker.  Drain bacon fat/oil from the skillet and set aside.

Pat beef dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper.  Add 2 tablespoons of the bacon oil to the skillet and heat over med-high heat until just smoking. Brown half of the beef, then add to the slow cooker.  Repeat this process with the remainder of the beef.

Add 2 more tablespoons of the bacon oil or butter to the same skillet and add onion, jalapenos, chili powders, cumin and salt.  Cook until they soften (about 5 minutes) Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds… Then add the tomatoes.  Blend well and simmer, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the skillet.  Pour into slow cooker.  Add the milled chile pod.

Place tortillas and chicken broth in a pan and heat until mushy.  Place in blender or food processor and blend until pureed.  Stir into slow cooker.  This will thicken the chili and add a nice corn flavor.

Add chipotle, peanut butter, chocolate and cinnamon to the chili… blend well.  Cover and cook until the meat is tender (this may vary depending upon your slow cooker) Cook on low for about 8-9 hours.  During the last 2 hours, stir in the beans and fresh oregano.  To serve, stir in some fresh cilantro and lime juice.  Garnish with freshly grated cheese and or sour cream.  For an extra kick, swirl a little adobo sauce from the chipotles in with the sour cream.


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