Southwestern Chili

Whole dried red chilies make this chili like none other. I first made it in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where chilies are a cooking staple, for Take Home Chef. Replace the ground beef with cubes of pork shoulder and simmer the chili for an additional 30 minutes to make a classic carne adovada.


9 dried red New Mexico or California chilies, stems and seeds removed
8 garlic cloves, crushed, peeled

4 cups reduced-sodium beef broth

Kosher salt

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 pounds lean ground beef

2 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

2 medium white onions, finely chopped

One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

Two 15-ounce cans red kidney beans, drained, rinsed


Grated white Cheddar cheese

Chopped scallions

Plain Greek yogurt or sour cream

Corn tortillas or corn chips


The chili can be made up to 3 days ahead, cooled, covered, and refrigerated; reheat gently until simmering before serving.

In a large saucepan, bring 4 cups water to a boil over high heat. Remove the pan from the heat and add the chilies. Weigh down the chilies with a plate and soak for about 20 minutes, or until they soften slightly. Drain.

In a blender, puree the chilies and garlic with the broth. Season to taste with salt and set the sauce aside.

Heat a large Dutch oven over high heat. Add the canola oil, then add the ground beef and cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up the meat with the side of the spoon, for about 8 minutes, or until the beef is browned. Stir in the cumin, black pepper, and cayenne pepper, if using. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until tender.

Stir in the reserved chili sauce, the tomatoes, and the vinegar and bring to a gentle simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 1 hour, or until the sauce thickens slightly.

Stir in the beans. Cover and simmer very gently, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, or until the chili has thickened a little more. Season to taste with salt.

Ladle the chili into bowls and serve with the Cheddar cheese, scallions, yogurt, and tortillas or chips on the side.