Need a faster Chili con Carne recipe for weeknights?
Make it with ground beef and you can have dinner on the table in about 30 minutes if you’re in full Ninja mode 🙂
And if you don’t have the exact chile combo on hand please don’t let that stop you from making it! There’s lots of leeway on the chiles and in a pinch you could probably get by with a handful of chipotles.
How To Make Ground Beef Chili con Carne
Of course, try to use dried chiles when available as they’ll give your Chili some real deal flavor.
For this batch I used 3 Ancho and 3 New Mexican chiles. More info on New Mexican chiles.
I also added 2 chipotles in adobo to the blender when making the chile puree. Adding in chipotles will give your Chili some heat, but you can always omit these for a milder batch. Working with chipotles in adobo.
I usually start by de-stemming and de-seeding the Ancho and New Mexican chiles, but don’t worry about getting rid of every last seed. Then we’ll wake up the chile pieces with a quick roast in the oven (400F) for 1-2 minutes.
Don’t roast ’em much longer than that or they’ll turn bitter. An alternative would be to flash roast them in a dry skillet for 15-30 seconds per side.
Once the chile pieces are warm and fragrant you can cover them with hot tap water and let them reconstitute for 20-30 minutes, or until you need them.
This extended soak will make them easier to grind up and helps infuse their flavor throughout the broth.
I also used the oven to roast the tomatoes.
They’ll need about 20-30 minutes to fully roast (400F), but for quicker recipes I usually just put them in at the beginning and grab ’em when their name is called.
Meanwhile, start browning the ground beef. I gave it a good salting (heaping teaspoon) and cooked it over medium heat.
I used 1.5 lbs. for this batch, but you can use up to 2 lbs. for this recipe.
Note that this recipe will easily feed 4-6 people, but will only fill up this 5 quart pan halfway — for larger groups you should be able to double the recipe and still have it fit in a similar sized pan.
Once the beef is browned you can set it aside and optionally drain off any fat.
In the same pan we’ll add a glug of oil and soften up a finely chopped onion over medium heat.
Once the onion has softened we’ll add 4 minced garlic cloves and briefly cook.
Then we’ll add half of this onion-garlic mixture to a blender where it will become part of the chile puree.
You can add the ground beef back to the pan as you work on the chile puree — this will prevent the minced garlic from burning.
I also usually add the spices to the beef at this point too:
1.5 tablespoons Mexican oregano What is Mexican oregano?
1/2 teaspoon cumin
freshly cracked black pepper
Before you drain the chiles be sure to take a taste of their soaking liquid!
If it tastes bitter to you then you’ll be using stock for this recipe. But I know there are many of you out there who like the flavor of the soaking liquid, so feel free to use it in place of stock.
I added a single cup of stock to the blender along with:
the drained chile pieces
a single roasted tomato
half of the onion-garlic mixture
2 chipotles in adobo, stemmed and seeded
Give it a good whirl and take a taste!
This is deliciously concentrated puree that’ll have some real zip from the chipotles. Keep in mind that you always omit the chipotles for a milder batch.
Add the chile puree to the beef mixture in the pan.
Cook briefly and then add:
4 cups stock (or chiles’ soaking liquid)
the remaining roasted tomatoes
1-2 cans beans, 15 oz. size, drained and rinsed
I usually just plop the tomatoes in the pan and give ’em a rough chop. There’s something really satisfying about big tomato chunks floating around in your Chili 🙂
Bring everything up to temp and give it a final taste for seasoning.
One thing to keep in mind….
The Chuck Roast version has an extended simmer and this gives the beef time to impart some real depth to the broth. Since we’re skipping the simmer with this Ground Beef version I added in a bit more seasoning to compensate, so feel free to add a few extra pinches at this point to get it to your liking.
I added another pinch of Mexican oregano, some adobo sauce from the can of chipotles, and another 1/2 teaspoon of salt, but keep in mind the salt level will depend on which stock you’re using. I used this chicken stock that doesn’t have much salt in it compared to store-bought versions.
I also thickened up this batch with a quick Masa Harina slurry. You can use cornstarch and get a similar thickening, but if you have Masa Harina on hand try that as it gives the broth a hint of corn flavor. What is Masa Harina?
So in the above pic that’s 3 tablespoons Masa Harina combined with 4-5 tablespoons of water. Combine well and then add it to the Chili — this will thicken it up and prevent your Chili from being too brothy.
Once everything is up to temp it’s ready to serve!
Hello fire breathing, soul warming Chili con Carne!
I like this Chili best in a bowl all by its lonesome, but you are welcome to garnish with:
freshly chopped cilantro
crispy tortilla strips
a squeeze of lime
For this batch I also dipped some cheese quesadillas in the delicious broth — yum!
If you’d like to try that simply add cheese to half of a flour tortilla in a dry skillet over medium heat. Fold the tortilla in half and cook each side until lightly browned.
Okay the recipe box is down below — don’t forget there’s leeway on the chiles and you can still get a good result even if you have to improvise a bit!
Ground Beef Chili con Carne
- 1.5-2 lbs. ground beef
- 3 Ancho dried chiles
- 3 New Mexican dried chiles (or Guajillos)
- 1 onion
- 4 garlic cloves
- 3-4 Roma tomatoes
- 2 chipotles in adobo (optional)
- 5 cups stock
- 1.5 tablespoons Mexican oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1-2 teaspoons salt (plus more to taste)
- freshly cracked black pepper
- 1-2 cans beans (I used two 15 oz. cans of black beans)
- Masa Harina or cornstarch to thicken (optional)
- Wipe off any dusty crevasses on the dried chiles. De-stem and de-seed the chiles, but don't worry about getting rid of every last seed. Roast them in the oven (400F) for 1-2 minutes or until warm and fragrant. Add the roasted chile pieces to a bowl and cover them with the hottest tap water you've got. Let them reconstitute for 20 minutes or so.
- Rinse and de-stem the tomatoes. Roast them in the oven (400F) for 20-30 minutes or until you need them.
- Preheat your main pot over mediumish heat along with a glug of oil. Add the ground beef and give it a good salting (I used a heaping teaspoon). Cook until fully browned, stirring regularly. Once cooked you can set the beef aside and optionally drain some fat from the pan.
- In the same pot, add a finely chopped onion along with another glug of oil. Cook the onion over medium heat until softened. Then add 4 minced garlic cloves and briefly cook. Scoop half of the onion-garlic mixture into the blender where it will become part of the chile puree.
- Add the ground beef back to the pan along with: 1.5 tablespoons Mexican oregano, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, and some freshly cracked black pepper. You can let this simmer as you work on the chile puree. If it gets to a point where you feel like it's overcooking, simply remove it from the heat until you're done with the chile puree.
- Before draining the reconstituted chiles take a taste of the soaking liquid. If it tastes bitter to you then use stock to combine the chiles. If you like the flavor then you are welcome to use the soaking liquid in place of the stock.
- Add the drained chiles to the blender along with a single roasted tomato and two chipotles in adobo (optional). I usually cut off the stem and scrape out the seeds of the chipotles. Half of the onion-garlic mixture should already be in the blender. Add a single cup of stock (or soaking liquid) and combine well. Feel free to add a bit more liquid if it won't combine readily. For milder batches you can blend without any chipotles to start with -- to increase the heat simply blend in 1/2 chipotle at a time and taste test along the way.
- Add the chile puree to the beef mixture and cook briefly over medium heat.
- Add the remaining roasted tomatoes to the pan and give 'em a rough chop. Add the remaining 4 cups of stock to the pan. I usually add the stock to the blender and swish it around to get any remaining puree before adding it to the pan. You can also add the beans at this point. I used 2 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed, 15 oz. size.
- Bring everything up to temp and take a final taste for seasoning. I added another pinch of Mexican oregano, some adobo sauce from the can of chipotles, and another generous pinch of salt. Keep in mind the exact salt level will depend on which stock you're using.
- You can also adjust the consistency of the Chili at this point if you want. To thin it out, simply add 1-2 cups of stock. To thicken it up you can use a Masa Harina or cornstarch slurry. I added 3 tablespoons of Masa Harina to a small bowl and combined it with 4-5 tablespoons or cold water. Once combined add this mixture to the Chili, stirring well, and it will thicken up noticeably.
- Serve immediately. I served it up plain Jane in a bowl, but you could also top with your choice fixings: Crema, freshly chopped cilantro, cripsy tortilla strips, or a squeeze of lime.
- You can optionally make a cheese quesadilla for dipping. Simply add cheese to half of a flour tortilla in a dry skillet over medium heat. Fold the tortilla in half and cook each side until lightly browned.
- Store leftover Chili con Carne in an airtight container in the fridge where it will keep for a few days. To reheat I usually give it a few minutes in a covered saucepan over medium heat -- if it seems thick I'll just add a splash of water or stock to thin it out.
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