Back when I would buy canned chili to have on hand for chili dogs and tamales without having to make up a batch on my own, I preferred Wolf Brand Chili with Beans. It wasn’t overloaded with spicy heat, and there was something about the flavor of the rich, thick broth that I loved but couldn’t quite put my finger on.
Now that I’m living in Costa Rica and don’t have access to canned chili (I’ve never seen canned chili anywhere), I make my own. Yes, I used to make my own prior to moving away from the States, but I’d make big batches that simmered all day in the CrockPot. But now, wanting to make a batch of chili after almost 2 years, I took a look at the ingredient list on the Wolf Brand website and I discovered what they’re using to create that uniquely flavorful broth – pureed pinto beans.
Armed with this knowledge, in very short order I was in the kitchen whipping up a batch of chili and it turned out great!
Beef Chili with Beans 2 Ways
- 1 aji chili pepper
- 15 oz can pinto beans
- 1½ lb ground beef
- 1 small onion chopped
- 1 stalk celery diced
- 15 oz can red kidney beans drained
- 2 Tbsp ground cumin
- 2 Tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp ground cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 32 oz beef broth
- 15 oz tomato puree
- In a pan or over open flame, roast the chili pepper on all the outer sides to blacken it. If you use a pan, set the heat on high; slicing the chili in half lengthwise can speed this up.
- Set the chili aside to cool, then – wearing gloves – use a knife to scrape off the charred skin and remove the seeds, the top, and the core.
- In a blender, add the can of pinto beans, undrained, and the roasted aji pepper. Blend until smooth, adding a little water or beef broth if needed.
- In a large heavy pot (a Dutch oven works great for this), brown the ground beef over medium heat. Drain off excess fat, retaining a small amount.
- Lower the heat slightly, then add the onion and celery and cook until tender.
- Stir in the cumin, chili powder, cayenne, salt and pepper.
- Now add the pureed bean mixture, beef broth and tomato puree. Simmer to reduce the liquid to your liking.
- Serve with a dollop of sour cream and garnish with chopped onions if you like.