Spicy Good

Chili Con Carne with Homemade Chili Paste

September 13, 2021
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One of my readers wrote in search of a recipe for bean-less chili that harkened back to her family’s Sunday dinners 25 years ago. Chili without beans is a-okay with me, so I worked up this richly flavored version made with beef skirt steak (you can also add a bit of bison steak if you have some) and loads of handmade chili paste. I use a combination of ancho, New Mexico, cayenne and arbol chilies for the paste, but you can vary the heat and flavor by experimenting with other varieties of dried chiles, such as pasilla or guajillo.

You’ll soak the dried peppers first. Then, brown the meat and simmer it to tenderness in the chili-soaking broth. Finally, blend the soaked peppers, garlic and spices to make the paste which you’ll add to the chili pot for a ½ hour more of simmering. That’s when the flavor really blooms! Not burn-your-mouth spicy, this beautiful chili has a deep, dark warmth.  It’s good plain or served over rice with chopped white onion and shredded cheddar. If you like chili-mac, be sure to try my mom’s recipe for that, too!


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