Ultimate Chili

From Cook's Illustrated.  I believe this was a "test" recipe.

This recipe requires some advance preparation (soaking dried beans, toasting whole chilies, and browning 3 batches of meat), but it’s well worth it. Instead of an overnight soak, you can “quick brine” the beans: In step 1, combine the salt, water, and beans in a large Dutch oven and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove the pot from the heat, cover, and let stand 1 hour. In our opinion using Dried Ancho and Arbol chilies yields a vastly superior chili. Dried New Mexico chilies or Guajillo chilies may be substituted for the Ancho chilies. Depending on desired spice level adjust the amount of Arbol chilies. Alternatively cayenne pepper (¼- to ½-teaspooon) can be substituted for the Arbol chilies. If dried chilies are unavailable substitute ½ cup of chili powder (our favorite brand is Spice Island) and cayenne pepper. To ensure a yield of 4 pounds of trimmed meat it is necessary to buy 5 pounds of steak roast. A 5 pound chuck roast, well trimmed of fat, can be substituted for the steaks. Good choices for condiments include diced fresh tomatoes, diced avocado, sliced scallions, chopped red onion, chopped cilantro leaves, lime wedges, sour cream, and shredded Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese.


Table salt
1 pound dried pinto beans (about 2 cups), rinsed and picked over
8 dried Ancho chile peppers (about 1 ¾ ounces), stems removed, seeds
removed, and flesh torn into 1-inch pieces
3 to 6 dried Arbol chile peppers, stems removed, pods split, seeds removed
¼ cup cornmeal
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon cocoa
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large onions, cut into 3/4-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
4 jalapeno chilies, stems and seeds removed and discarded, flesh cut into ½-
inch pieces
6 medium garlic cloves, minced or passed through a garlic press (about 2
1 (14 ½ ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon light molasses
5 pounds blade steaks, ¾-inch-thick, trimmed of gristle and fat and cut into ¾
-inch pieces
1 (12 ounce) bottle lager

1. Dissolve 3 tablespoons salt in 4 quarts cold water in large bowl or container. Add beans and soak at room temperature for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours. Drain and rinse well.

2. Adjust rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Place Ancho chilies in 12-inch skillet set over medium-high heat; toast, stirring frequently, until flesh is dry and fragrant, 4 to 6 minutes, reducing heat if chilies begin to smoke. Transfer to bowl of food processor and cool. Do not wash out skillet.

3. Add arbol chilies, cornmeal, oregano, cumin, cocoa, and 1 teaspoon salt to food processor with toasted ancho chilies; process until finely ground, about 2 minutes. With processor running, very slowly add 1 cup broth until smooth, thick paste forms, about 45 seconds, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Transfer chili paste to small bowl. Place onions in now-empty processor bowl and pulse until roughly chopped, about five 1-second pulses. Add jalapenos and pulse until consistency of chunky salsa, about five 1-second pulses, scraping down bowl as necessary.

4. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until any exuded moisture has evaporated and vegetables are softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant,
about 1 minute. Add chili paste, tomatoes, and molasses; stir until chili paste is thoroughly combined. Add remaining 3 cups broth and drained beans; bring to boil then reduce heat to simmer.

5. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Pat beef dry with paper towels and sprinkle with 1 ½ teaspoons salt. Add third of beef and cook until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer meat to Dutch oven. Add ½ cup lager to skillet, scraping bottom of pan to loosen any browned bits, and bring to simmer. Transfer lager to Dutch oven. Repeat two more times with remaining oil, beef, and lager. Once last addition of lager has been added to Dutch oven, stir to combine and return mixture to simmer.

6. Cover pot and transfer to oven. Cook until meat and beans are fully tender, about 2 hours. Season to taste with salt and serve with desired condiments. (Chile can be made up to 3 days in advance).