Instead of using commercial chili powder to flavor this stew, we puree dried ancho chiles for a customized taste. You can prepare the chile-broth puree up to two days in advance to streamline prep for a busy night.
10 servings (serving size: 1 1/3 cups chili, 1 tablespoon sour cream, and about 1 teaspoon cilantro)
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion to pan; cook 8 minutes or until golden, stirring frequently. Add cumin, garlic, and chiles; cook 3 minutes or until chiles are soft, stirring frequently. Stir in broth and tomatoes; bring to a simmer. Cover, remove from heat, and let stand at room temperature 20 minutes.
Place half of chile mixture in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Pour pureed chile mixture into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining chile mixture. Set aside.
Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add beef to pan; sauté 10 minutes or until browned on all sides. Remove beef from pan. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add bell pepper to pan, and sauté for 8 minutes or until browned. Stir in pureed chile mixture and beef; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour or until beef is tender. Add beans; cook 20 minutes. Stir in salt and black pepper. Top with sour cream and cilantro; serve with lime wedges, if desired.