More Snacks on Snacks: the best chili ever

As I find myself preparing my legendary chili on the eve of my trip to State College for a glorious weekend, I figured I'd re-share my chili recipe with the BSD crowd. I previously posted this in the Penn State v. Alabama chili cookoff page; you'll find my recipe there, as well as here. Demand newenglandnittanylion brand chili! Accept no substitutes!

Fair warning: it's a pain in the ass to track down some of the peppers in this recipe, and even after you've got them, this recipe takes a lot of work to cook. But trust me, this stuff is worth it. I was introduced to this recipe by a friend five or six years ago, and it blew me away. I've since added a couple of my own tweaks (specifically, the corn and the bhut jolokias), and it's more delicious than ever, if I say so myself.

So, for those of you looking for one more awesome dish for your tailgate this weekend, give my recipe a try.


6 dried red New Mexican chiles, stems and seeds removed
3 ancho chiles, stems and seeds removed
2 Bhut Jolokia chiles (aka Ghost Peppers), stems and seeds removed (optional; only recommended for those with serious spice tolerance)
2 pounds coarse ground beef OR 2 pounds sirloin, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 pound coarse ground pork OR 1 pound pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 chiltepin or piquin chiles
1 tablespoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon sugar
1 quart beef broth
1 cup tomato sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups cooked pinto beans (optional)
1 cup canned corn (optional)
1 cup green bell pepper, chopped (optional)
Place the New Mexican and ancho chiles (and the Bhut Jolokias, if you're using them) in a bowl and cover them with very hot water. Allow them to steep for 15 minutes to soften. Drain the chiles and discard the water. Place the chiles in a blender or food processor along with some water, and puree them until smooth. Strain the mixture to remove any remaining pieces of chile skins.

Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat, add the meat, and saute until browned. Drain off any excess fat. If using the cubed meat, add a little vegetable oil to the skillet and then brown the meat. Add the onions and garlic to the skillet and continue cooking until the onions are soft, about 10 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a large saucepan or stockpot.

Heat the pan over medium heat, crumble the chiltepins over the mixture, and add the oregano, cumin, sugar, broth, and tomato sauce. Simmer the chili for 45 minutes.

Stir in the chile puree, season with salt and pepper, and continue to simmer for an additional 30 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Like most chilis, this recipe really benefits from a long cooking time--it takes a long time for to really get the flavor from the dried chiles. So cook this up the night before your tailgate. When you get to the tailgating fields the next morning, find a spot on your grill for it first thing, and keep it simmering all day long; it will keep getting better and better.

If you want a little spice above the base recipe, but don't want to make the jump to the Ghost Peppers, I recommend adding some Huy Fong Chili Garlic sauce to taste, bowl-by-bowl as you serve.

To serve, ladle the chili into bowls and serve the beans and vegetables on the side.

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