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As I learned when I moved to Texas 13 years ago, chili making is serious business. So it’s no surprise that we received deeply flavored chilis and warming soups and stews from readers this month.
I couldn’t resist including my favorite bowl of red—from my first cookbook, Cowgirl Cuisine. This chili is best made the day before, so the flavors can meld and mellow, and it makes it easier to skim off the excess fat before reheating. Shredding the meat is an important step; it helps to create a thick, luscious texture. Consider serving this chili with your favorite cornbread recipe and all the traditional condiments.
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided use
2 large sweet onions, diced
3 poblano peppers, stemmed, seeded and diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 1/2 pounds beef chuck, cut into 2-inch cubes
2 bay leaves, preferably fresh
2 cinnamon sticks
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 cup ground New Mexico chile powder
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ground chipotle chile powder
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ground cumin
12 ounces amber or bock beer
8 cups beef broth
Mexican-style crema or sour cream
1 medium red onion, chopped
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the sweet onions and sauté until softened and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the poblanos and sauté for an additional 10 minutes, reducing the heat if necessary to prevent the onions from browning. Add the garlic and salt and cook, stirring, an additional 5 minutes; set aside.
2. Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large Dutch oven (preferably a cast-iron pot with enamel coating). Add the beef in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan, and brown the cubes on all sides until brown and crusty. Remove the beef with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining beef.
3. Return all cooked beef to the Dutch oven. Add the spices and cook, stirring until they form a thick paste on the meat, about 4 minutes. Watch the pan carefully to avoid scorching the spices. Add beer to deglaze the pan, and simmer until slightly reduced and the meat mixture is thick. Add beef broth, reduce heat to low and simmer the mixture, partially covered, for 3 hours, stirring occasionally.
4. If not serving immediately, chill over-night. The next day, skim the fat from the top of the mixture. Using a slotted spoon, remove about 2 cups of the beef cubes to a plate. Shred the meat with a fork (it should be very soft) and return it to the pot. The shredded meat will help create a thicker-textured chili.
5. Serve with a dollop of crema and bowls of onion, tomatoes and cilantro on the side.