This chipotle beef chili with Cheddar cheese sauce is sufficiently awesome to be award winning. Sassy, spicy, and smothered with a creamy cheese sauce. Ladle on burgers, potato skins, tortilla chips, spaghetti, or simply reach for a spoon. Here’s how to make it.
If anyone in this business could make money out of a stone, it was Uncle Denny. He had a club called the Blue Angel, which had a lab downstairs where he mixed bootleg liquor with legal liquor. He knew how to get the absolute most out of anything. He’s been credited with watering down mustard, not giving lids or straws on cups, and telling people he’s out of napkins when he had a whole supply stashed away. But his absolute best was whenever a cook was ready to pitch something, he’d look at it and say, “Put it in the chili!” It became a family joke, so how could we not name it after Uncle D!–Spike Mendelsohn
LC (Urp) Note
Unlike most chilis, this intensely flavored chili with a mellow chipotle kick isn’t exactly intended to be served on its own, but rather with Cheddar cheese and sour cream to mellow its rich, sweetly spicy heat. We also swoon to it spooned on a burger, glopped on a baked potato, slathered over fries, even dumped on spaghetti or white rice. Just pass the napkins.
Chipotle Beef Chili with Cheddar Cheese Sauce
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 cup diced red onion
- 1 green bell pepper seeded and diced
- One (15-ounce) can kidney beans drained and rinsed
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons Hungarian paprika
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- One (30-ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1 cup cold water
- Half (7-ounce) can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
- 2 cups sweet, mild barbecue sauce
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- Sea salt
- 1/2 cup Cheddar Cheese Sauce
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the beef, stirring and breaking it up until it’s browned. Drain off the fat.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in another large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion and green pepper and cook, stirring, until the onion is translucent and both onion and pepper are softened, about 10 minutes. Add the beans, cumin, paprika, chili powder, and black pepper. Increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring, until the mixture is fragrant, about 4 minutes.
- Add the browned beef to the spice mixture and continue cooking and stirring until well mixed. Add the tomato sauce and water, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens, about 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, purée the chipotles in a food processor or blender until smooth. Add the barbecue sauce, ketchup, vinegar, and molasses. Puree until smooth. Strain. You should have about 3 cups. Cover and refrigerate 2 cups of the sauce and use as a mildly hot barbecue sauce.
- Stir the remaining 1 cup of the chipotle mixture into the chili. Season the chili with salt to taste. Ladle into bowls and top each with a some Cheddar Cheese Sauce and sour cream. The chili gets even better when left in the refrigerator for a day.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This chipotle beef chili is a very good, sweet chili with a strong after-kick from the chipotle chiles in adobo sauce. I reheated it the next day and, like almost all chilis I’ve made, the overnight sitting melds the flavors and makes it even better. So, what can I say? The day after? Even better!
Originally published June 17, 2010