Eight-Alarm Chili


2 oz dried ancho chiles (4 large), stemmed and seeded
6 large garlic cloves, 3 of them finely chopped
1 Tbsp Kosher Salt, or to taste
1-1/2 Tbsp Ground Cumin
1-1/2 Tbsp Chili Powder
4 lb well-marbled beef brisket or boneless chuck, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2- to 2-inch pieces
3 to 4 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 (28- to 32-oz) can whole tomatoes in juice
1/4 Cup canned chipotle chiles in adobo
1/2 Cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1 1/2 lb white onions, chopped (4 cups)
1 Tbsp Dried Mexican Oregano
1/2 to 3 tsp Serrano Chile Powder (3 tsp is the Eight-Alarm Version!)
1 (12-oz) bottle beer (not dark)
2 Cups water
2-1/2 Cups cooked pinto beans (optional; 30 oz), rinsed if canned

Serve with chopped avocado; chopped white onion; shredded Cheddar cheese; chopped fresh cilantro; sour cream.


Soak ancho chiles in hot water to cover until softened, about 30 min. Drain well.
While chiles soak, mince 1 whole garlic clove and mash to a paste with 1/2 tbsp salt, 1/2 tbsp cumin, and 1/2 tbsp chili powder. Pat beef dry and toss with spice mixture in a large bowl until coated.

Heat 2 tbsp oil in a wide 6- to 7-qt heavy pot or dutch oven, over moderately high heat, until very hot but not smoking. Brown beef pieces in 3 or 4 batches, without crowding the pan, turning occasionally, about 5 min per batch (lower heat as needed; spice mixture burns easily). Transfer batches of beef, as browned, to another bowl. (Do not clean pot.)

Purée anchos in a blender along with tomatoes (including juice), chipotles in adobo, cilantro, remaining 2 whole garlic cloves, and the last 1/2 tbsp of salt until mixture is smooth.

Add enough oil to fat in pot to total about 3 tbsp, then saute onions and chopped garlic over moderate heat, stirring and scraping up brown bits from beef, until softened, 8 to 10 min. Add oregano, remaining tbsp of cumin, and remaining tbsp chili powder and cook, stirring, about 2 min. Add chile purée, serrano powder, and simmer, stirring, 5 min.

Stir in beer, water, and browned beef along with any juices accumulated in bowl, and bring chili to a gentle simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally and checking often to make sure chili is not scorching on the bottom of the pan, for about 2 hrs.

Taste sauce, then add more serrano chile if desired and continue to simmer, partially covered, until beef is very tender and sauce has slightly thickened, 1 to 2 hrs more. (If chili becomes very thick before meat is tender, add water as needed.)

Remove pan from heat, and coarsely shred meat (still in the pot) with 2 forks. Cool chili completely, uncovered, and then chill, covered, in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days to allow flavors to develop.

Reheat over low heat, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until hot, about 30 min. Add beans (if using) and simmer, stirring, 5 minutes.