Dutch Oven Chili Con Carne
For the longest time, when people asked what my favorite kitchen tool was, I would answer, without a moment of hesitation: my trusty food processor. But now, it would seem that my answer is slowly starting to shift…
More and more, I find myself becoming seriously addicted to my Dutch oven. Especially since I discovered how incredibly good it is at roasting chicken! Plus, it’s simply irreplaceable when it comes to slowly cooking stews and braising meats to juicy, tender perfection, two things that I have a real soft spot for. I’ve even used it not so long ago to whip up a delicious pasta dish!
Summer is soon to be here and I’m starting to hyperventilate just thinking about the fact that my precious Dutch oven and I are gonna have to part ways, if only for a little while. Good thing my grill will be coming out of its dormancy at about the same time to make me forget about my loss… But still, before I get to temporarily put Big Blue away (that’s my Dutch oven), I decided that the two of us would be enjoying a few more good times together.
For starters, since I’d been having a major craving for Chili Con Carne for a while now, I figured it would be an excellent dish to try and make in my beloved Dutch Oven. Best move ever! This chili turned out absolutely amazing, all rich and thick and spicy, just the way I like it. The best part is I didn’t have to tend to it while it was cooking, save for stirring every hour or so, and there were no tomato sauce splatters to clean up after.
From now on, that’s the only way I’ll ever be making chili!
Now I did precook the beans, because there’s simply no way around that, unless you go and use canned. But you know me, right? I much prefer to cook my own!
I figured cooking legumes is so easy, I sort of skipped that part when I took the process pictures, but in retrospect, I’m thinking maybe I shouldn’t have. There’s much more to it than I initially thought… perhaps I should even do an entire post on the subject.
But for the time being, I’m afraid we’re gonna have to make do with what I have on hand…
To get the 6 cups of cooked kidney beans, you’ll need to soak 3 cups of dry kidney beans in about 6 cups of water for at least 8 hours, but preferably overnight. Change the soaking water several times if you can.
Then, rinse the beans well and transfer them to a large stockpot; cover with plenty of water and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover loosely and simmer for about an hour to an hour and a half, until the beans are tender but still have a bit of a bite to them.
For more flavorful beans, add a quartered onion, a carrot and a few celery ribs to the cooking water, and then salt generously towards the end of the cooking process, once the beans are almost done. Remove the cooked veggies with a slotted spoon before draining the beans.
Once drained, rinse the beans really well under cold running water. If using canned, you’ll want to rinse the canned beans as well.
Now that your beans are cooked and rinsed (or now that you’ve cracked open those cans and rinsed the beans) preheat your oven to 375°F
Drizzle a little bit of oil (extra-virgin or avocado are my favorites) in a 7 quart Dutch oven set over medium heat. Add the onions, bell pepper and celery, and cook until fragrant and softened, about 2-3 minutes.
Next, add the ground beef, salt and pepper, crank up the heat to medium-high and continue cooking until the meat is no longer pink, about 10 minutes.
Add the canned diced tomatoes and canned crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, chipotle in adobo sauce, cacao powder, ground cumin, garlic powder and dried parsley.
About the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, while they are not absolutely mandatory, you would not believe the amount of flavor that they confer to the chili! I like to add mine whole, but you could also chop them up a bit, if you preferred. Be warned though: if you choose to chop them up, things may get a bit messy!
These muy tasty peppers shouldn’t be too hard to locate at your local grocery store, but if you can’t find them, make sure you make up for their absence by adding a tablespoon or two of chipotle powder to your chili, depending on how spicy you want it to be.
Give the whole thing a delicate stir until well combined.
Then kill the heat and gently stir in the rinsed kidney beans.
Cover and transfer your Dutch oven to the preheated oven and cook for 3 to 3½ hours, stirring every hour or so.
Let your chili rest for about 20 minutes, so the liquid has a chance to settle and well, to let the stew cool a little bit, too.
At this point, it’s simply too hot to eat; it wouldn’t even be pleasant, trust me. I mean, I’m all for heat, but not that kind of heat. Let it cool down a bit, and then you’ll be able to fully enjoy the kick and wonderful flavors that it has to offer.
To be honest, this chili tastes even better the next day, or the one after that. So you’ll be glad you made such a big batch: you’re guaranteed to have leftovers!
Once your chili has had sufficient time to rest and cool, serve it with a dollop of Greek yogurt or sour cream as well as a pinch of chopped green onions.
A sprinkle of grated Monterey Jack isn’t bad either… if you happen to have some lying around in the fridge. Just sayin’…
Dutch Oven Chili Con Carne
- 6 cups cooked and thoroughly rinsed kidney beans* , (you coud also use canned)
- 3 lb lean ground beef
- 2 medium onions, finely chopped
- 2 celery ribs, finely chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp salt, I use Himalayan salt
- 1 tbsp ground black pepper
- 2 - 28oz cans diced tomatoes
- 1 - 28oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1 - 6oz can tomato paste
- 1 - 7oz can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
- ¼ cup cacao powder
- 2½ tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 3 tbsp dried parsley
- Greek yogurt or sour cream and chopped green onions to garnish, optional
- Preheat your oven to 375°F
- Drizzle a little bit of oil (extra-virgin or avocado are my favorites) in a 7 quart Dutch oven set over medium heat. Add the onions, bell pepper and celery, and cook until fragrant and softened, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the ground beef, salt and pepper, crank up the heat to medium-high and continue cooking until the meat is no longer pink, about 10 minutes.
- Add the canned diced and crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, chipotle in adobo sauce, cacao powder, ground cumin, garlic powder and dried parsley and stir delicately until well combined.
- Kill the heat and gently stir in the cooked kidney beans.
- Cover and transfer your Dutch oven to the preheated oven and cook for 3 to 3½ hours, stirring every hour or so.
- Let your chili rest for about 20 minutes and then serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt or sour cream as well as a pinch of chopped green onions.
Then, rinse the beans well and transfer them to a large stockpot; cover with plenty of water and bring to a boil then reduce the heat, cover loosely and simmer for about an hour to an hour and a half, until the beans are tender but still have a bit of a bite to them. Drain and rinse well under cold running water.