Friday, June 12, 2015

Beef, Bean, and Beer Chili – What a Great Way to Lose a Beer

As the legend goes, someone was making a batch of chili one day, while drinking too much beer, and due to a series of unfortunate events, a bottle was dropped into the pot. 

By the time it was fished out, the contents had escaped, and a new, delicious version of chili was born. As a former line cook, I'd say that sounds about right.

This recipe reminds me of the decision we’re faced with whenever we make beef stew. Should we deglaze with wine, or just our broth? Both make great, but differently flavored stews, so it really just depends on your mood, and also whether you're willing to sacrifice your adult beverage.

As I mention in the video, hot chili is a very underrated summer menu item. Bring a big ol’ thermos of this to a picnic, or other warm weather cookout, and it makes a great side to those grilled burgers and dogs. Just have some insulated cups around, and maybe some hot sauce, and you’re in business. I hope you give this beef, bean, and beer chili a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 6 portions:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 diced onion
2 pounds ground beef
2 tsp salt, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 tbsp ancho chile powder, or to taste (I like ancho, but any high-quality ground chili pepper will work)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tsp paprika
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (12-oz) bottle of beer
1 cup tomato puree or crushed tomatoes
2 cups water, or as needed
2/3 cup diced green pepper (I used poblano, but a combo of jalapeno and green bell works great too)
2 (12 ounce) cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed well

26 comments:

Chemgeek said...

Oh Chef John. I'm disappointed. Everyone knows that any recipe calling for beer should require 13 ounces. Leaving 11 ounces for the chef, of course.

cookinmom said...

Just made this...Excellent! Happened to have all ingredients so went for it and am glad I did. Added Chipotle pepper and hubby loved it! He wants it on the keeper list. Success, once again, enjoyed! TKS Boss!

Tom Houy said...

El Pato brand "Salsa de chile fresco" is really good in chili, in lieu of just plain crushed tomatoes.

Jennifer Sweet said...

Nice timing on this one, Chef John. I am making chili this weekend. My version is pretty similar to yours except instead of cocoa powder, I add a diced apple to mine, and also use hard apple cider instead of beer. I know it sounds like an odd combo but it gets rave reviews every time I make it. I switch up the meat as well, depending on what I have in the freezer. We are part of a CSA so it's different every time. I think this week it's going to be beef sausage, boar & lamb stew meat, & lamb shank. I am feeding a crowd of very hungry guys on Sunday so plenty of dead animal is required.

Aaron said...

You broke my heart by putting beans in the chili, chef!

My food wish is that you do a texas-style chili with no beans. =)

Aaron said...

You broke my heart by putting beans in the chili, chef!

My food wish is that you do a texas-style chili with no beans. =)

Evan Moiles said...

Obligatory old school chili lover nitpicking: whole pieces of beef chuck and using whole dried chiles that you grind/puree yourself make a much better chili. Just saying. ;)

I personally think that beer-based chilis are a bit of a trend that's not really all that great, but I'm sure this is delicious anyway. Thanks for sharing!

Chef John said...

We've done "real" beanless chili with cubed beef before! This is just an easy summer version. Also, I had no idea beer in chili was a trend. Are you sure? Seems I would've heard about, and make fun of that fact in the video. ;)

Divtal said...

I'm delighted to see one of the experts agree with me that you don't brown ground meat ... then drain it. I've always considered that to be flavor "down the drain."





Lars Homestead said...

Chef John,

What saison did you use, if I may pry? How do you think it changes the flavor vs using an IPA or lager or whatever? Thanks for this recipe and all that you do, I made a concerted effort to learn how to cook last year and I've relied almost exclusively on your videos to inform this process.

WolfyDaddy said...

Hello Chef John, great recipe! I love chili at any season of the year.

One question: Why do you rinse the beans and then add fresh water? Why not use the beans with their juice? Wouldn't that add more flavor than adding fresh water?

Thanks for all the great recipe ideas! - Wolfgang

Gauche - O Poeta Bêbado said...

I made this recipe tonight as a loner person in a saturday night. Too spicy for my taste, but I must have done something wrong. How do u skim the fat? I saw people using bread, but I am not sure; mine turned out too greasy :(

Gurdiak Tinar said...

Hello Chef John, the recipe looks amazing! Never used pinto beans before, should they be pre-cooked? What other types f beans could be used?

rotunder said...

Nice one Chef, as usual you come up with a great recipe. I live in the southern hemisphere so it's winter here now and this looks like a good one for a cold night.

Also, I'm starting to learn a few good techniques from you that I see you do in a lot of different recipes, like softening the onions, cooking the spices for a few minutes to open the flavours, etc etc. Stuff that I never really knew before that really helps the end flavour, so thanks for that :)

Darcy Thomas said...

Great recipe Chef! Jane Rodmell a Canadian chef who has contributed for years to Cottage Life magazine has a very similar chili recipe with beer in it from her co-penned cookbook the Getaway Chef. After years of making chili, I tried the beer trick and it really does add somethin' somethin'... I highly recommend it! Makes the chili smoother or more velvety...tasting. (For the record, I am not accusing you of stealing her recipe!! ;-)

md said...

Thanks for a great recipe chef! I made it on Saturday and had leftovers that I reheated today. It was even better! Funny how some dishes just need a few days so that the ingredients mix together in a delicious way.

David Rosenthal said...

just did my own take on this and I'm happy with the results :) I used a dark stout (Guiness) and a bit more of it but cut down on additional water... I also added some honey and to cut through the sweetness a splash of lime juice. + parsley instead of oregano which was a better fit in my opinion. I wanted to use cilantro but we didn't have any unfortunately.

Steve Miller said...

Good Day Chef John....

Do you think this will work with duck sausage? Made with duck meat from wild duck?

I have several pounds of duck sausage from last years harvest, just breakfast sausage, mild, bulk.

I'll spice it up when I brown it.

What do you think?

Steve

Angry Lemur said...

I liked this recipe a lot. My family didn't really like it though. It was a little on the spicy side. I could not find ancho chili powder specifically and I ground my black pepper corns and kosher salt in a spice mill. Perhaps that is why it was so hot??? The family said they still prefer Chili-O. Screw it... next time I'm just gonna heat up some Hormel canned chili. :|

Peas&Carrots said...

I have yet to make anything from your videos that has not been First Class in taste, and of course the Beef, Bean and Beer chili delivered up perfection as well. Thank you. You are my new go to site for, "What's for dinner?"

John said...

Chef John, do you have any recommendations of the way that you large chop those onions. I've seen you do it in your videos and most might think that it's probably an easy task, I have a hard time getting largely chopped onions like you do. I've tried to look online, but most people just do the fine chop method. Thanks! Love this blog!!! It's seriously the reason why I have started cooking at home on a regular basis.

aalmeida259 said...

I made this tonight and oh mama, this is some good-ass chili. I used ground pork instead of beef, Brooklyn Brewery brown ale, and added a teaspoon of fennel seeds, 1/2 teaspoon of dried chipotle and 1 habanero pepper. It was so damn hot I almost slapped my own face, so maybe use half a habanero. Otherwise the spice mixture was perfect.

HUS said...

I made this tonight and I must admit, it's the best chili i've ever made. I was once on a quest to make the best chili so I've tried a few recipes on the internet. The beer adds a unique flavor that I love!!! Thanks Chef!!!

Admin Blogger said...

Carolina Reaper should be replaced with Chile :) I think it will be burn mode :P

Mark M said...

Hi John: I have a different opinion on the ingredients. Mexican food should always have fresh cilantro, ground coriander, smoked paprika, cumin, Mexican oregano and minced jalapeno or Serrano peppers in it. If chili then add beer and some masa for some corn flavor. En-joy...

Thuc Nguyen said...


This time there is a good beer too :)
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