Chili con carne is one of those dishes you see on old school Mexican restaurant menus. It’s a mixture of beef and onions cooked down in a dried chili sauce which becomes a big bowl of robust flavors. The chilies you use in this recipe are quite important because that’s what gives this dish its authentic Mexican taste. I recommend a combination of two dried chilies either Guajillo, Pasilla, or New Mexico in order to create just the right amount of heat without it becoming too spicy. Sometimes when people refer to the word “spice” they automatically think spicy, which is not the case in this recipe. Spice or heat comes from fresh chili seeds, and the internal membrane of a chili. When chilies are dried and roasted, it sweetens them slightly, and they become more of a gentle giant amongst their fresh cohorts.
In this bowl of chili, it’s all about the sauce because its rich tomato broth has earthy depth. I know it will probably become of the best bowls of chili you have ever had, and this chili recipe doesn’t have a bean in sight. Beans in this dish would just get in the way of the beefy taste, which is the highlight here. If by chance you can’t get dried Mexican chilies, you can always substitute good quality chili powder to achieve a nice flavor profile.
I used my Instant Pot to speed up the process, so you can make this meal in about 30 minutes, which is about half the time it would take to cook it on the stove top. I love to top my bowl with sliced avocado, a smattering of shredded cheese, and a fresh lime wedge of lime. A dollop of guacamole with some good tortilla chips on the side would be pretty delightful with a big bowl too.
2 pounds chuck roast, diced
1 dried Guajillo chili or 1 teaspoon chili powder
1 dried Pasilla chili or 1 teaspoon chili powder
1 white onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
4 ounces pancetta or bacon, diced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
14 ounces diced tomatoes
4 ounces light beer
1/4 cup masa harina
1 avocado, sliced
1 lime, sliced into wedges
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1. Press Sauté’ on Instant Pot and place both dried chilies in bottom (skip this step if using chili powder). Let toast for 3 minutes a side. Remove and let cool for 2 minutes. Remove seeds and tear into pieces. Place chilies in a grinder and pulverize into a fine powder.
2. Add 3 tablespoons oil to bottom of Instant Pot and add meat in batches, brown on all sides. Remove and set aside.
3. Add onion, garlic and pancetta, sauté for 3 minutes. Add freshly ground chili powder, oregano, cumin and salt, stir to combine. Cook for 1 minute. Add beer and tomatoes and stir. Continue to cook for 2 minutes and add meat back into pot, stir. Press Cancel.
4. Place lid on top and press Manuel or Meat, and cook on high for 30 minutes. Vent steam and remove lid. Whisk together masa harina and 1/2 cup of warm water. Stir mixture into chili until combined. Ladle into bowls and top with avocado, cheese and a lime wedge. Enjoy!