Rainy Night Chili
Blackened poblano chiles—not too hot, but full of earthy flavor—give this chili a richness that is unique and satisfying. Serve with fresh, out-of-the-oven corn muffins. As with most chilies and stews, this one improves after lounging in your fridge for a day or two.
- saute pan
- 2 large fresh poblano peppers
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, with juice
- 1 (15-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, with juice
- 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
- 1 bottle light-bodied beer
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- 2 teaspoons crumbled dry oregano
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons chili powder (see the Cooking Note below)
- 1½ to 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 pound ground beef, preferably grass-fed
- Chicken stock or water, optional, for thinning
- Fresh lime juice, for finishing
- Use the open flame of a gas burner to directly roast the peppers, turning them so they cook evenly until completely blackened and somewhat soft. (Alternatively, place the peppers on a cookie sheet under the oven broiler set on high heat. Turn them as they roast.) Put them in a bowl and cover with a plate. Let stand for about 15 minutes; they will continue to cook and become more compliant. Now peel away the blackened skin. Split them open, remove the seeds and membrane, and cut into ½-inch dice. Set aside.
- In a large stewpot over medium heat, cook the onion and garlic, stirring, until softened and slightly browned. Add the roasted peppers along with the beans, tomatoes, tomato paste, beer, thyme, oregano, cumin, chili powder, and salt.
- In a large sauté pan, brown the beef over medium-high heat, seasoning it with salt and pepper as it cooks. Add the meat to the pot.
- Simmer, partially covered, over low heat for about 1 hour. If you’d like the chili to be thinner, add a bit of chicken stock or water. Check for seasoning, adding salt, pepper, or more cumin and chili powder to taste. Fresh lime juice adds zip and sparkle at the very end of cooking.
Cooking Note: There are many types of chile powders, including pure ground versions of dried chiles and blends of different chiles and spices. Choose a fragrant version that suits your taste buds; we like to use one that includes smoked paprika—it bumps up the slightly smoky smell and taste of the blackened poblanos and diced tomatoes. — Jim Richards and Lisa Gordanier
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