Chili con Carne

 I always thought I didn't like chili very much. I grew up eating chili prepared with hamburger, beans, and salsa that was stewed down. It wasn't bad at all, in fact it's kind of brilliant. The salsa already had tomatoes, onions, peppers, and garlic. It was fast and economical. But it just kinda lacked pizzazz. And the more I searched for a chili I like the more and more convinced I was that I just didn't like chili. But by all accounts, it didn't make sense that I couldn't find a recipe that I liked. It was stewed beef with heavy spices and sour cream. I just knew there had to be a way. And so I looked and looked. 

     I learned that there are so many types of chili. The tomato based kind more people are familiar with and some that are actually cooked in a sauce made out of chilis. This recipe is a combo of some of the more authentic Mexican recipes I found and some shortcuts I devised. I wouldn't call it authentic at all, but it's definitely closer than anything I had tried previously and it's definitely hearty and satisfying. 

     One of the short cuts I use here is enchilada sauce that is chili based, not tomato based. It saves you from having to soak and puree chilis yourself. the other is thickening it with masa harina. The corn thickens it nicely without giving it a weird texture and adds a delicious flavor.  

     Beans are of course questionable but totally optional. When I say questionable I mean they are not added to true Mexican chili con carne, adding beans is more of a Texas and thus Tex-Mex thing. I have made it with just meat in the past, and we love it that way, just double the stew beef. However, I do add them  because flavor and texture wise they work, the benefit is they are cheaper than meat. Beef is expensive right now, a 2 pound package of stew beef is around $13. And I would need two for this recipe for my size family. I can skip the second package and add 4 cans of beans for about $3, saving myself $10 alone on a single meal. I try and do that two to three times a week, and that $10 really adds up that way. But also keep in mind I am cooking for a crowd, this recipe can easily be cut in half. Just use half the enchilada sauce and freeze the leftover for next time. There will be a next time with this recipe!!

2 - 3 lb. stew beef
Oil to sauté
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 (8 oz. ) can tomato sauce
1 (28 oz.) can Las Palmas Red enchilada sauce
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. ancho chili powder
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. tomato bouillon
1 can black beans, drained
2 cans pinto beans, drained
1 can dark kidney beans, drained
1/4 c. masa harina

Sour Cream, cheese, cilantro, avocado

Set the instant pot to sauté. Once the pot is hot add some oil. Cook the beef in four batches, making sure not to crowd the pan. Remove once the meat is browned and keep warm. 

Add the onions and cook until tender. Add the garlic and cook for a minute or two, just until fragrant. Add the vinegar and cook until the vinegar is no longer acidic and it is reduced. Add the tomato sauce and cook for 3-4 minutes. 

Add the meat back to the pot and add the enchilada sauce. Add the ancho and tomato bouillon. 

Secure the lid to the instant pot and set to high pressure. Cook for 45 minutes. Allow to natural release for 20 minutes. Hit cancel and release the rest of the way. 

Bring the chili back to a boil and add the beans, sugar and cumin. Mix the masa harina with a half a cup of water to form a thin paste. stir the masa paste in to the simmering chili and stir to keep from forming lumps. Simmer for 5 minutes. Turn the instant pot off and allow to cool for 10 minutes. 

Serve with sour cream, cheese, cilantro, and avocado as desired. 


Popular Posts