Comforting & Filling Chili Con Carne Recipe

Comforting & Filling Chili Con Carne Recipe
Table of Contents

    The Instagram ad targeting algorithm must have been reading my mind the other week when I scrolled across a salivary-response-inducing picture of Chili Con Carne from none other than Kenji Lopez Alt from Serious Eats. This flavorful, mexican-inspired recipe builds a deep and complex flavor profile by starting with whole dried chilis and leveraging the rich beefiness of chuck meat and chicken stock. So much better than your average chili con carne recipe with ground beef, chili powder, and beans such as black beans or red kidney beans. Yet the setup is pretty simple, and it will fill your entire home with an irresistible aroma while it simmers away on your stove. We made a few changes to Kenji’s recipe to adapt it to our taste. We omitted the fish sauce (Michelle doesn’t like fish), we used more garlic, we chose the chilis that we had access to and added an extra Arbol chili to kick up the heat a bit.

    We enjoyed bowls of chili con carne with slices of avocado, spring onion, cilantro, and home-made tortillas. It was a magical meal. Try it at your house tonight.

    Full recipe below.

    How To Make Comforting & Filling Chili Con Carne

    Step 1: Prep your ingredients

    The first time Michelle and I made this, we read through the recipe several times to double-check we weren't missing anything. It always helps us so much if we portion all the spices we will need and chop any veggies ahead of time.

    Step 2: Toast the dried chili pods

    Make sure to remove any stems and seeds from the chili peppers before you roast them. The best chilis depend on your preference. We used a combination of ancho, New Mexico, and Arbol peppers, but you could also use cayenne peppers or other types of chilli. Be careful to make sure you don't burn the peppers.

    Step 3: Add roasted peppers and adobo chili to 4 cups of chicken stock

    Heat the chicken stock in a pot and then once warm add the chilies to rehydrate them. Once it's been brought to a simmer, take off heat and cover with a lid. Set aside for 5 minutes.

    If you're using Souper Cubes® of home-made chicken stock from the freezer, make sure to defrost the stock in the pot first.

    Step 4: Brown beef chuck

    Heat the vegetable oil in a dutch oven or large stock pot. Season the chuck steaks with salt and pepper. Once the oil is hot add the chuck steaks to brown them turning them to brown all sides after 4 minutes or so per side. Once the meat has browned, remove it from the dutch oven and pot and set aside in a bowl.

    Step 5: Add onions, cook until translucent. 

    This should take 3-5 minutes. The onions will absorb a lot of the yummy bits of fond from the browning of the beef.

    Step 6: Add garlic and spices, stir together

    Stir the spices into the onions taking care to make sure they don't burn. The pot should start to produce a wonderful, complex aroma now.

    Step 7: Blend together the peppers hydrating in the chicken stock from the pot

    At this point, the peppers have had an opportunity to fully hydrate in the broth. Add them and some of the liquid to a blender. Make sure you don't add too much of the liquid at once to the blender as the steam can cause quite a mess. It's better to blend in smaller portions.

    Step 8: Add beef chunks, blended peppers, and 4 remaining cups of chicken stock to the dutch oven. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat and cover with the lid slightly ajar for 2-3 hours.

    Dice up the larger pieces of browned chuck into smaller cubes about 1 inch per side. Place the diced chuck back in the dutch oven and add the blended chilies and chicken stock mixture. Then add the remaining chicken stock.

    Step 9: Add masa flour, apple cider vinegar, and season with salt

    Season with hot sauce to taste. The chili should be a little thicker looking than when you added the liquid and meat to the pot because of the masa and having reduced a bit. 

    Kenji suggests making this recipe a day before you're going to serve it so the flavors are even stronger and more delicious.

    Step 10: Enjoy with tortilla and garnishes

    We added corn tortillas, diced onions, cilantro, scallions, and avocado. You can also garnish with diced tomatoes, cheddar cheese, jalapenos, sour cream, cornbread, or corn chips if you prefer a more Texas-style flavor profile.

    Step 11: Freeze leftovers in your Souper Cubes® trays

    Freeze your leftovers in Souper Cubes trays to enjoy a perfect portion of Chili con carne whenever you want it.

    Chili Con Carne with Beef Chuck Recipe

    Original Recipe adapted from J. Kenji Lopez-Alt over at Serious Eats 


    • 3-4lbs of beef chuck, trimmed of large fat pieces, cut into large pieces.
    • 1 large yellow onion, diced
    • 3 New Mexico Chili pods, seeds and stems removed
    • 3 Ancho chili pods, seeds and stems removed
    • 2 Arbol chili pods, seeds and stems removed
    • 2 Chipotle chilis in adobo sauce, seeds and stems removed
    • 2 tablespoons of adobo sauce
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground All-spice
    • 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon powder
    • 1 tablespoon ground Cumin
    • 2 teaspoons dried Oregano
    • 6 cloves of Garlic, crushed
    • Salt and Black Pepper
    • 2 Tablespoons Vegetable oil
    • 3 Tablespoons of Masa Harina flour
    • 2 tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar


    1. In a small pot, bring 4 cups of chicken stock to a simmer on your stovetop. Then, in a cast iron over medium-heat, toast the dried chili peppers for 3-4 minutes making sure not to burn them. Make sure to remove any stem or seeds from the chili pods. Once lightly toasted, add peppers to chicken stock. Take 2 adobo chilis from a can and add to the pot with 2 tablespoons of adobo sauce. Make sure to remove any seeds or stems from adobo chilis as well. Allow chilis to simmer and rehydrate in the chicken stock for 6-8 minutes, then take off the heat to rest.
    2. Trim the fat and gristle from the beef chuck and cut into large steaks. In a large dutch oven, heat up vegetable oil until it starts to smoke. Season chuck steaks with salt and pepper and then add them to the smoking oil. Brown on all sides for 4 minutes or so per size. Place in a bowl to rest.
    3. Add diced onion to the dutch oven and saute while stirring until it becomes translucent and absorbs all of the browned beefy bits in the bottom of the pan.
    4. Add the cinnamon, allspice, cumin, garlic, and oregano to the dutch oven. Stir the mixture with the onions until it is well mixed in and starts to become fragrant.
    5. Working with smaller amounts of liquid and the rehydrated chilis add them to a blender and liquefy the mixture. Be careful with the steam from the hot liquid.
    6. Take the large chuck steaks that have been rested and cut them up into cubes that are about 1 inch per side.
    7. Add the cubes of beef to the dutch oven along with the liquified chili mixture and the other 4 cups of chicken stock.
    8. Cover the dutch oven with the lid slightly ajar and leave simmering on low heat for a total time of 2-3 hours. Stir the mixture occasionally.
    9. After 2-3 hours, add the apple cider vinegar and masa flour making sure to stir it in well. The chili should now be a little thicker.
    10. Serve up the chili in a bowl accompanied by some slices of avocado, sliced scallions, cilantro, a lime wedge, and some corn tortillas.
    11. Enjoy

    In this delicious chili recipe, Souper Cubes helped us use our own home-made chicken stock, we took out the exact right amount with no guessing. We used our Souper Cubes trays again to freeze individual portions of the chili con carne to enjoy whenever we want. Get your Souper Cubes trays today.


    We would love to hear your ideas or better yet, post a photo of your cubes organized in our Freezer Meals & Recipes Facebook Group!

    Happy Freezing!

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