Photo: Iain Bagwell; Styling: Thom Driver
Hands-on Time
45 Mins
Total Time
2 Hours 15 Mins
Serves 8 (serving size: about 1 1/3 cups)

Simmering the chili in the oven rather than on the stovetop prevents scorching at the bottom of the pan. Find achiote paste and dried whole chiles at Latin markets. Ask your butcher for chili-grind beef, which is more coarsely ground and requires the 1/2-inch plate on the grinder.

How to Make It

Step 1

Combine first 5 ingredients in a medium saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium heat. Stir well to dissolve achiote paste. Cover pan, and remove from heat; let stand 30 minutes. Combine stock mixture, 1 can kidney beans, and 1 can small red beans 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. Set aside.

Step 2

Preheat oven to 325°.

Step 3

Heat a large Dutch oven over high heat. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add half of beef; cook 4 minutes or until very well browned, stirring occasionally. Remove beef from pan. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil and beef. Reduce heat to medium-high. Add onion, bell pepper, cumin, sugar, salt, black pepper, and garlic; sauté 4 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Step 4

Add beer to pan; cook 5 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half. Add tomatoes; crush well with side of a spoon or tongs. Add beef. Stir in stock mixture, remaining 1 can kidney beans, and remaining 1 can small red beans. Cover loosely to allow steam to escape; bake at 325° for 90 minutes.

Ratings & Reviews

Why add beer? What's with all the odd ingredients?

October 04, 2015
OK, but a lot of work and not special for all that. Why does the recipe require beer?  I don't really want my kids to get used to the taste of beer.  And why the unusual ingredients?  Some of us do not live in large cities with access to alternate markets.  And some of us don't want to buy the ingredients for just one recipe.

October 05, 2015
Beer is frequently used as a liquid in chilis, though the flavor of the beer doesn't come through at all, so you shouldn't worry about your kids tasting beer.  Just out of curiosity, if you don't want them consuming chili with beer in it, then why didn't you use one of the literally dozens of other chili recipes that CL and Myrecipes have that don't include beer?  Same goes with the ingredients, which are actually really common in Hispanic markets and were also at my local Harris Teeter, but, again, if you didn't care for the ingredients, then why did you pick this chili recipe (of all the recipes on this site) to cook?  Those questions aside, I agree - lots of work for an underwhelming chili.

2 1/2 stars

October 05, 2015
Gotta agree with Econcook - it's a lot of work for a somewhat underwhelming bowl of chili.  The only reason I gave it three stars instead of two was that the flavor is actually quite good, and quite spicy, but it has the consistency of a soup with beans and occasional chunks of ground beef.  Maybe it's just my personal expectations, but I like chili to be chunky, thick, hearty type stuff, whereas this was runny, liquid-y, and, well, more like a thick soup.  Also worth noting - achiote paste seems to come in various forms, so specifying a bit about it might be useful.  The bottle of achiote paste I bought at the local Hispanic supermarket was basically lard with crushed anatto seeds.  I realize it's spread out over a number of servings, but 2 TBSPs of that stuff seems like a lot of lard to use in a "light" chili.  Furthermore, if this is the kind of achiote paste you were suggesting the reader purchase then you might want to mention what's in it so that some of your readers who may not eat pork will be aware that this ingredient does not conform with their diets.  Gotta say, the last year or so of CL recipes I've tried have been fairly underwhelming, and this is just another in the increasing trend of disappointments.


October 10, 2015
This is some of the best chili I've had. I made my own achiote paste with a recipe from "Authentic Mexican, Regional Cooking from the Heart of Mexico" by Rick and Deann Bayless. This recipe had no lard in it so I think achiote paste form the Philipines may not be a good replacement. There are recipes for achiote paste on line or get the yucatan style from a Mexican grocery.

So good!

October 31, 2015
This recipe is really good.  I love the from-scratch chili sauce.  It's so much better than using chili powder. I put some of the seeds in the sauce for more heat.  I couldn't find achiote paste so I used tomato paste instead.  I also didn't have dark beer and used a wheat beer.  It was still really good.  Next time I will use the dark beer.  As for the review below,  I wouldn't pay attention to it.  It's common to use beer in chili and it gives a depth of flavor that you can't get from anything else.