Monica's favorite gear
for making Chili
This Cuisinart food processor is a work horse that gets a lot of use in my kitchen.
I use this 6 quart model for all of my soup, chili, and one-pot meals. It comes in several colors.
The cookbook by Cooks Illustrated is packed with great recipes. I've made a bunch of them, and they never fail me.

Thick & Hearty Steak Chili

There are few foods I enjoy more than a bowl of chili on a cold, winter day. I've made many different recipes through the years. The truth is, I've liked most of them. I often make a quick version that uses ground turkey.

Today I'm sharing a recipe with you that takes a bit more time, but is well worth it. Oh my goodness, this is delicious. It's made with steak instead of ground beef or turkey, involves some slow cooking in the oven, and results in meat that will melt in your mouth and a deep, rich flavor that makes this my favorite chili recipe ever.

It starts with a recipe from the Feb 2011 issue of Cooks Illustrated. (Sorry, but you can't access their recipe online without paying for an online subscription.) CI's chili recipe is pretty involved. They start with arbol and ancho whole dried chiles that are toasted, ground, and made into a paste. I made the recipe their long way first, and then made this version that simplifies the process a bit and results in chili that is, in my opinion, every bit as good. Bracken (aka Brackenthebox) and Rachel made the CI recipe last week, and described it as "off the chain" (that's a good thing). So, although this is a new recipe, it has been tested and enthusiastically approved in two of our family kitchens.

Here's my somewhat simplified version of the CI recipe. As a shortcut, I followed their suggestion of substituting a good quality chili powder for the whole chiles. The beer, cocoa powder, cornmeal, and molasses, combine with the other seasonings to create a rich, flavorful result.

Step-by-step photos for making Thick and Hearty Steak Chili.

Step 1. Assemble the Ingredients. Steak (I used top sirloin steak; CI recommends blade steak or a chuck-eye roast), dried or canned pinto beans, chili powder (make sure it's fresh and good-quality), cornmeal, cumin, oregano, cayenne, cocoa powder, chicken broth, onions, jalapenos, garlic, molasses, canned diced tomatoes, beer (I used Schlafly Pale Ale--a local St. Louis favorite of ours).


Step 2. If using dried beans (recommended over canned for taste, texture, and price), combine them in pan with 3 tablespoons salt and 4 quarts water and heat them to a boil on stovetop. Turn the heat off, cover the pot, and let the beans stand in the salty water for 1 hour. If using canned beans, pour them into a colander, and rinse and drain them.

Step 3. Cut off as much fat as possible from the steak, and cut it into 3/4" pieces.

chopped steak

Step 4. Put the garlic in a food processor and give it a whirl until completely chopped.

garlic  garlic chopped

Step 5. Cut onions into chunks and add them to the food processor. Remove seeds and membrane from jalapenos (wear plastic gloves when handling the jalapenos), cut them into chunks, add them to onions and pulse until chopped. 

NOTE: the garlic, onions, and jalapenos can also be chopped by hand.

onions peppers  onions pepper chopped

Step 6. In an oven-safe Dutch oven, saute onion/jalapeno/garlic mixture until soft.

onions peppers in pot  onions peppers cooked

Step 7. Add chili powder, cornmeal, cumin, oregano, cayenne, and cocoa powder and stir. Let it cook a minute or two.

add seasonings  mixed seasonings

Step 8. Add the chicken broth, molasses, beans, and salt. 

choose broth  add beans

Step 9. Add the canned tomatoes. Stir everything together. 

tomatoes in pan  mixed in pan

Step 10. Meanwhile, heat some oil in a skillet. Pat the meat dry and add half of it to the skillet.

oil in pan  raw meat in pan

Step 11. Cook the meat until it's browned on all sides.

cooked meat in pan  browned meat in pan

Step 12. Add the beef to the Dutch oven. You'll have lots of browned bits left on the bottom of the skillet.

meat in pan  brown bits in pan

Step 13. Pour half of the bottle of beer into the skillet. It will be foamy at first.

add beer  beer in pan

Step 14. As the beer warms in the skillet, use the flat end of a spatula to scrape all of the browned bits off of the bottom of the pan. This will add rich flavor to the chili. Add the beer broth to the Dutch oven.

scrape bits in pan  add beer broth

Repeat this same process with the remaining half of the steak and beer.

Step 15. Stir everything together, heat it through, and put the lid on.

mix broth  lid on

Step 16. Transfer the pot to the oven and bake at 300 degrees for approx. 1-1/2 hours until steak and beans are tender.

in oven

The result is a delicious, rich chili.

finished whole pan

It's definitely thick and hearty.

spoon close up

Dish it up and enjoy!

bowl close up

Add your favorite chili toppings, like chopped green or red onions, shredded cheese, sour cream, cilantro, jalapenos, Fritos, crumbled tortilla chips--whatever you like. 

This is great paired with my Classic Buttermilk Cornbread or Cheesy Jalapeno Cornbread.

garnish and cornbread

Chili is great party food. You can set up a chili bar with a variety of toppings for guests to add. It's an easy way to feed a crowd and always a good choice to serve at a Super Bowl party.

Make it a yummy day!

Other posts that may interest you:

Link directly to this recipe Print this recipe
Thick & Hearty Steak Chili
By Monica              Servings: 6 to 8 servings
  • 3-1/2 pounds sirloin or blade steak or chuck-eye roast, fat trimmed, cut into 3/4" pieces
  • 1 cup dry pinto beans; or, 2 (15-oz) cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 medium onions, each cut into 8 pieces
  • 2-3 jalapenos, seeds and ribs removed, cut into 1/2" pieces
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/2 cup chili powder
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 tablespoons cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2-1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons molasses
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (12-oz) bottle beer
  • Optional garnishes: chopped green or red onions, shredded cheese, sour cream, cilantro, jalapenos, Fritos, crumbled tortilla chips
If using dried beans, combine them in pan with 3 tablespoons salt and 4 quarts water; heat to a boil on stovetop. Turn the heat off, cover the pot, and let the beans stand in the salty water for 1 hour. Drain and rinse. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In food processor, mince garlic; add onions and jalapenos and pulse until chopped. (Or, chop garlic, onions and jalapenos by hand.) On stove top, heat 1 tablespoon oil in oven-safe Dutch oven over med-high heat. Add onion/garlic/jalapeno mixture and saute until soft. Add chili powder, cornmeal, cumin, oregano, cayenne, and cocoa powder and stir; cook 1-2 minutes. Add chicken broth, molasses, tomatoes, and beans. Stir. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over med-high heat. Pat meat dry and add half to skillet. Cook until browned on all sides. Add cooked meat to Dutch oven. Pour half of beer into skillet, stir and scrape to remove browned bits. Pour beer mixture into Dutch oven. Repeat with remaining oil, meat, and beer. Combine everything in Dutch oven and heat through. Cover and move to oven. Bake until meat and beans are tender, approx. 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Stir, taste, and add up to 1 teaspoon salt, if needed. Serve with cornbread and garnishes.
Print this Recipe   Share this Recipe

Posted on Monday, January 10th, 2011

Home    |    Recipes    |    Archives    |    About The Yummy Life    |    Contact
The Yummy Life is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to
Privacy Policy - © 2014 The Yummy Life - All rights reserved