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An Easy, DIY Chili Powder Recipe

It's time you made your own chili powder and seasoned up this hearty dish like a real chef.
An Easy, DIY Chili Powder RecipeMitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Texans and New Mexicans—both of whom lay claim to the advent of chili—disagree on most matters when it comes to this divisive dish. Beans or no beans? Tomatoes? Chunks of chuck or ground? One truth all serious chili heads can agree on, though, is the fundamental importance of a good chili powder. That means skipping the bottled supermarket stuff and making your own secret spice powder. This is a beginner powder, requiring nothing more than toasting two different dried chiles, then pulverizing them in a coffee grinder. Use leftovers to rub on steaks, spike dips, and dust on slices of mango.

Nutrition: 380 calories, 12 g fat (4.5 g saturated), 810 mg sodium

Serves 8

You'll Need

3 ancho chiles
10 dried chiles de arbol
1 Tbsp oil or bacon grease
2 lb chuck roast, cut into 1⁄2 pieces
Salt and black pepper to taste
2 medium onions, diced
2 poblano peppers, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1 can (28 oz) tomato puree
2 cups low-sodium beef stock
1 can (14–16 oz) pinto beans, drained
Diced onion, minced jalapeño, shredded cheese, chopped cilantro, and/or sour cream, for serving

How to Make It

  1. Heat a cast-iron or stainless steel skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add the chiles and cook, turning occasionally, until lightly toasted and crispy.
  3. The chiles de arbol will take about 5 minutes; the anchos about 10.  (Be careful not to inhale too deeply—chile smoke has been known to cause wild fits of coughing.)
  4. Discard the stems and seeds, and place the chiles in a clean coffee grinder or food processor.
  5. Grind into a fine dust. That's your chili powder—the heart of this dish.
  6. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  7. Season the beef with salt and pepper, and add to the pan.
  8. Sear the meat until all sides are nicely browned, then add the onions, poblano peppers, garlic, cumin, and 2 tablespoons of the chili powder.
  9. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables are softened.
  10. Stir in the tomatoes and stock.
  11. Lower the heat and simmer for at least 45 minutes (but preferably up to 90 minutes), until the beef is fork tender.
  12. Stir in the beans a few minutes before serving, and heat through.
  13. Serve with any of the garnishes.
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