Chile Con Carne

9 Dec

chile con carne

Tread carefully with this chili. This is not your tame ground beef and tomatoes; no, this chili is a whole different beast, a dark fiery primal stew. Here you’ll find whole chunks of beef swimming amidst the flavors of smoky chipotle peppers and spicy chili powder. There is an incredible depth here due to the inclusion of cocoa powder, beer, and coffee (trust me, you want all of these in your chili). I was inspired by a traditional Texas red but chose to include tomatoes and beans (which many will debate, I know) – you can omit these if you want, and your chili will still be really tasty. This is not a quick meal as you have to let the chili simmer for 4+ hours (a slow cooker may work well here), but it is very much worth it.

Chile Con Carne
Yield: 8 – 10 servings


  • 4 slices bacon
  • 3 – 4 lbs beef chuck, cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 5 – 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 chipotle peppers, minced
  • 1 tsp adobo sauce (from chipotle peppers can)
  • 5 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 (12-ounce) bottle beer*
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • juice from 2 limes
  • 1 cup black coffee
  • 2 – 3 cups water
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar, if needed**
  • 2 tbsp cornmeal or 3 tbsp cornstarch mixed with 2 tbsp water (optional for thickening)
  • salt, to taste

*I used a homebrewed smoked porter and think something dark (a porter or stout) works best here though a brown ale or amber ale should also be okay (but nothing really hoppy).
**This will depend on how sweet the beer you used was and your personal preference – just taste and see if you think the chili needs a little extra sweetness.


  1. In a very large pot or dutch oven, cook 4 slices bacon until crisp, then remove from pan, crumble, and set aside.
  2. In the bacon fat over high heat, brown 3 – 4 lbs beef chuck, cut into 1/2″ cubes, then set aside.
  3. Lower the heat to medium, then add 1 onion, diced and 1 bell pepper, diced, and sautee until the onion is translucent.
  4. Add 5 – 6 cloves garlic, minced, 2 chipotle peppers, minced, 1 tsp adobo sauce (from chipotle peppers can), 5 Tbsp chili powder, 1 1/2 Tbsp cocoa powder, 1/2 Tbsp ground cinnamon, 1 tsp ground coriander, and 1 tsp ground cumin. Sautee until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  5. Deglaze the pan with 1 (12-ounce) bottle beer, then add the browned beef chuck, 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, juice from 2 limes, 1 cup black coffee, 2 – 3 cups water. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and let simmer for 4 hours or until the meat is tender and nearly falling apart.
  6. Stir in the reserved crumbled bacon, 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, 1 Tbsp brown sugar, if needed, 2 tbsp cornmeal or 3 tbsp cornstarch mixed with 2 tbsp water (optional for thickening), and salt, to taste. Simmer for 10 more minutes, then remove from heat and serve with chili toppings of choice.

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4 Responses to “Chile Con Carne”

  1. Andrea (questfordelish) December 12, 2011 at 2:39 pm #

    This chili looks yummy. I made a chili and posted it on my blog. You should check it out. I am always looking for new ways to make it.

    • Claire December 12, 2011 at 2:45 pm #

      Thanks! I checked out your blog, and it’s looking good – tell your boys they did a great job decorating those gingerbread houses!

  2. Monsus December 14, 2011 at 12:43 pm #

    Looks great! Do you drain the beans before adding?

    • Claire December 14, 2011 at 1:43 pm #

      Thanks! I do indeed drain the beans – I also like to rinse them (until the water runs clear). I’ve updated the recipe to reflect this.

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