The secret to chili is how you select and use your chili peppers. If dried ancho and chipotle peppers are not available in your local market, just substitute, bearing these points in mind: dried chiles have a richer, fruitier flavor than fresh; smaller chiles are hotter than larger ones; the seeds and white veins generally contain all the heat but no chili flavor; and finally, if you like great chili flavor but are less enamored with the spicey heat, add one whole chili pepper to the pot, but remove it before serving. The recipe below is for a medium-hot chili.
For the chili:
1 pound dried dark red kidney beans
2 tablespoons yogurt
1 pound ground beef
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 dried ancho chili pepper, seeds and white membrane removed, chopped
1 dried whole chipotle pepper
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon freshly ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground
For the topping:
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack
or cheddar cheese
1 cup sour cream
Cover beans with warm water, stir in yogurt, cover, and soak in a warm place for 18 to
24 hours. Drain, rinse, and place in a slow cooker.
In a skillet over medium-low heat, brown the ground beef in olive oil. Combine the meat and remaining chili ingredients in the slow cooker, and cook on high for 4 to 5 hours or on low for 8 to 10 hours, until the beans are tender. Depending on how your cooker works, you may need to add an extra ½ cup of water during the cooking time to prevent the chili from drying out.
Serve the chili topped with shredded cheese and a generous dollop of sour cream.
This recipe is taken from my cookbook, Free Range Farm Girl: Cooking Grassfed Beef, published 2014.