I think it’s a given that everyone loves a really good pot of chili. Of course, the secret to good chili is a nice long stove top simmer time to let the flavors meld together and let the chili reach the right consistency. By accident I ended up finding an even better method to cook chili: in a dutch oven, in the oven! This produces the best flavored chili you can imagine. Something about the oven allows the beans to really absorb the liquids and spices they are cooking in, so they be come tender and way more flavorful then you achieve on the stovetop alone. And by the end you end up with a really thick hearty chili. (I’m not huge on watery chili.)
Because you can’t really leave the house with the oven on, but a dutch oven needs very little tending, I think this is a perfect putter around the house on Saturday fall recipe. Do the sautéing called for at the beginning of the recipe; then toss the dutch oven in, and go rake the leaves, organize a closet, or veg out and watch TV. If you check back once and a while to give the chili a stir, by dinner time you’ll have the perfect pot of chili. All that’s left is to decide on your chili toppings, and what you kind of bread you should serve alongside it.
Some people top thier chili with crackers, some with cheese, others with sour cream. Some people serve chili with rolls or cornbread (I have a really nice skillet cornbread recipe here). I’m partial to sharp cheddar and sour cream on top of my chili. And I happen think the ideal pairing for chili is a cinnamon roll. I know, that’s a little odd, but here’s the story. When I was a kid my Mom was an elementary school teacher. Which was awesome because she had summers off with my brother and I, and holidays; but occasionally we had a day off from school she didn’t. On those days I would spend the day at the church kid care, where my brother also attended preschool. Not only did I meet one of my childhood best friends there, discovered that cinnamon rolls made a perfect pairing of chili. I still have the fondest memories of playing all day with my best friend and having chili with a cinnamon roll alongside for lunch. And you know how these things stick. To this day I think chili is best with an ooey gooey cinnamon roll beside it. (In case you want to try the pairing for yourself, this just so happened to be the best ever cinnamon roll recipe.) Anyhow. Whatever you top your chili with or serve alongside, here’s to fall and a great pot of chili!
Dutch Oven Chipolte Chili– Serves 6-8.
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 red Bell pepper, diced
- 2 lb. beef, cut for stew
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon coriander
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1/4- 1 whole small can Chipolte chilies in Adobo Sauce
- 16oz can Diced tomatoes in juice
- 16 oz can black beans
- 16oz can cannellini beans
- 16 oz can Pinto Beans
- 16 oz can Dark Red Kidney Beans
- water as needed
- Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Sour Cream, and Crackers for serving
1. Heat a large dutch oven to medium high heat on the stove. Add olive oil, onion, garlic, and bell pepper to the pan. Sauté until the onion is translucent. Add the beef to the pan and season with the black pepper, sea salt, cumin, chili powder, paprika, and coriander. Allow the beef pieces to sear, and brown well. Stir occasionally so that all sides of the meat have a chance to brown, but not burn.
2. De-glaze the pan using the chicken broth. Use a spoon to scrape up any pieces adhered to the bottom of the pan. Add the broth, chipotle chilies in adobo sauce (1/4 a can for milder chili a whole can for pretty darn spicy chili), diced tomatoes with juice, and all the beans to the dutch oven. Allow the pot to come to a gentle boil over medium high heat, then cover and transfer to the oven.
3. Cook in the oven at 350* for a minimum of 3 hours, but up to six hours. During oven cook time occasionally check the chili. The meat and beans will absorb a lot of the broth and if the dutch oven doesn’t seal perfectly some of the cooking liquid will evaporate. Add water as needed to maintain some liquid in the pot. Shortly before serving enough liquid should have been absorbed/evaporated creating the correct consistency for chili. If the liquid is not reducing enough you’re in a rush can return the pot to the stove top and simmer with the pot uncovered for the last hour of cooking.
4. Stir well before serving. Serve hot topped with plenty of sharp cheddar and sour cream. And of course, I highly recommend serving a cinnamon roll alongside!