Braised Beef Chili

A good chili deserves more than some crumbly ground beef. Don’t get me wrong, I grew up on chili brewed from the beefy scribbles, but now that I’m an adult and have agency over my food choices I find myself more than inclined to use a good cut of chuck roast to braise into a spicy shredded chili. 

Every Fall I have the same realization: It’s chili weather! Yes, the statement deserves an exclamation, I make chili far too infrequently and only when the weather is crisp enough to warrant a smoky pot of beef. 

My secrets (everyone has a chili secret, yes?) are simple. Chipotle peppers for smoke and pomegranate (or cranberry) juice for a tart sweetness. With time and tomatoes the cubes of seared chuck roast will fall apart beg to be spooned into your mouth. Of course, you’ll need a hearty side dish to sop up the drippings. Don’t leave chili alone at the altar,  make a batch of cornbread and the world will right itself.

Gluten Free, Dairy Free, No Processed Sugar, Soy Free, Corn Free
Adapted from Tyler Florence

  • 3 pounds Chuck Roast, cut into 2 inch cubes
  • 3-4 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon Ground Spicy Paprika
  • 1 tablespoon Ground Coriander
  • 1 tablespoon Ground Cumin
  • 1 tablespoon Dried Oregano
  • 1 head Garlic (about 10 cloves), chopped
  • 3 Chipotle Peppers in Adobo
  • 3 tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 3/4 cup Pomegranate Juice (or Cranberry Juice, Gluten Free Beer)
  • 1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 can Whole Tomatoes (28 oz.)
  • 1 can Black Beans (15 oz.)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Get Busy

  1. Season the beef with salt and pepper. In a large Dutch Oven, or another heavy bottomed stock pot, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil until it is almost smoking.
  2. Working in batches, brown the meat making sure to let it get nice and crusty. Don’t worry about the stuff that sticks to the bottom, this means more flavor later!
  3. When all the beef is browned, take it out of the pot and set it aside. Toss in the sliced onions and if needed, a little more olive oil. Saute the onions until they are dark and caramelized, about 30-40 minutes.
  4. Add all the spices and chopped garlic to the onions. Let the spices, garlic and onion mingle and get to know each other, give them all time to develop some flavor (saute them together for about 5-7 minutes).
  5. Add the chipotle peppers and tomato paste and saute another five minutes, or until the tomato paste becomes very dark and flavorful.
  6. Stir the pomegranate juice and balsamic vinegar into the pot, deglazing the brown bits on the bottom.  Cook the liquids with the garlic/onion/spice mixture for a few minutes.
  7. Add the whole tomatoes, the browned beef cubes and stir everything to combine.  The liquid should just about cover the meat, if it doesn’t, no worries, just pout in some water or a little more pomegranate juice to cover.
  8. Bring everything to a low boil, then drop the heat to low and simmer with the lid on for at least 4 hours (we’ve let it go 5 1/2, it only gets better). When the meat starts to fall apart you know you’re close!
  9. Add the beans after three or four hours of simmering to keep them from disintegrating.
  10. If the beef hasn’t fallen apart, you can help shred it with a fork.

Prep. Time: 1 hour
Cooking Time: 4-6 hours
Yield: 6-8 servings