Smoky Beef Chili with Black Beans and Corn

adapted from America's Test Kitchen

Yield:  12-16 servings

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 onions, finely chopped

1-2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces

12 garlic cloves, crushed

1/2 cup chili powder

2 Tbsp minced canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce (Add 1-2 Tbsp additional at the last step if you want it spicy.)

2 Tbsp ground cumin

4 tsp ground coriander

2 tsp dried oregano

Salt and pepper

4 pounds ground beef (85% lean)

2 (15-oz.) cans black beans, drained and rinsed

2 (28-oz.) cans diced tomatoes

2 (28-oz.) cans tomato puree

4 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed

Selected garnishes on the side such as avocado, diced fresh tomatoes, chopped purple onion, lime wedges, sliced scallions, minced cilantro, sour cream, and/or shredded cheese.


Heat the oil in a large (12 quart) pot over medium heat.  When shimmering, add the onions, bell peppers, garlic, chili powder, chipotle, cumin, coriander, oregano, and 1 teaspoon salt.  Cook until the vegetables have softened, about 15 minutes.  Stir the mixture often.

Increase the heat to high and stir in the ground beef, one pound at a time.  Cook while breaking up the chunks with a large wooden spoon.  Cook until it is no longer pink.  This should take about 3-4 minutes per pound.

Stir in the beans, diced tomatoes, and tomato puree.  Bring the mixture to a boil.  Cover the pot and simmer over low heat for one hour.  Stir the mixture occasionally.

Uncover and simmer about 1 1/2 hours more, until the beef is tender and the chili is dark and slightly thickened.

Note:  Stop at this point if you are making the chili in advance.  The chili may be refrigerated for up to two days.  Reheat gently, about 50 to 60 minutes, over medium-low heat, stirring often. Add water, as may be needed, to adjust the consistency.  Then proceed with the recipe.

Stir in the corn.   Simmer the mixture until heated through, about 3-4 minutes.  Taste and add 1-2 Tbsp additional minced chipotle, at this point, if you want it spicy. Season with salt to taste.

Serve with selected garnishes.