The Best Halal Chili Made in a Slow Cooker, Instant Pot, Stove Top, or Dutch Oven

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Nothing fills you up like a good bowl of red. Chili, that is. The all-American stew tends to come out once a year for the Super Bowl but is an excellent weeknight meal you can make for winter and summer nights alike.

There are tons of ways to make chili and enthusiasts get pretty passionate about it. We’re going with the comfort version: the kind made with ground beef, tomatoes, and beans. This is the kind you grew up eating, only more flavorful and has you coming back for more.

WHY THIS CHILI IS GREAT

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Real chile flavored chili powder: Forget store bought chili powder that’s old and stale. We use real ancho chiles, either dried (from the Mexican section of your grocery store) you can grind your own, or powder, for better flavor.

Shortcuts to great flavor: Instead of chopping a giant onion, mincing peppers and cooking down tomatoes, we call for salsa. It already has many of the flavors we want. Another trick? Tortilla chips. They add corn flavor and thicken the stew.

Can be made anyway: We want to make it easy for you. You can make this chili on the stovetop in a pot, in the oven in a Dutch oven, in a slow cooker while you’re at work, or for the best version in your pressure cooker at turbo speed. This recipe works for you.

INGREDIENTS 

For the chili powder

  • 2 dried ancho chiles (or 2 tbsp Ancho chile powder)
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp ground coriander

For the chili

  • 2 lbs ground beef, 80/20 percent lean (preferably ground shoulder, but ask your Halal butcher for something with good fat)
  • 3/4 tsp table salt, plus extra if needed
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Water
  • 2 (16-ounce) jars of salsa
  • 3 handfuls of tortilla chips, crushed
  • 2 chipotle pepper canned in adobo sauce, minced
  • 2 tsp adobo sauce (from the can of chipotle peppers)
  • 2 cans beans, undrained (pinto, red, black or a combo)
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar, or more to taste
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp Asian fish sauce (or soy sauce, or Worcestershire sauce)
  • 1 tsp hot sauce, or more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For garnish

  • Limes, quartered
  • Avocado, cubed into 1-inch pieces
  • Cilantro, chopped
  • Onions: Green onions or red onions, minced
  • Cheese: Queso fresco, jack, or cheddar, crumbled or grated
  • Tortilla chips: Classic or Fritos

Total Time: 1 to 2 hours
Prep: 20 min
Cook: 30 to 90 min
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Level: Intermediate

INSTRUCTIONS

1. SALT THE BEEF

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  • 2 lbs ground beef, 80/20 percent lean
  • 3/4 tsp table salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda

Mix the meat with the salt and baking soda in a large bowl and let it sit for 20 minutes. This will help the meat taste better and brown easier for a better tasting chili.

2. ADD A CHILI POWDER MIX

chili_02_chili_powder

This is the trick. We’re going to use our add chili powder, but make our own mix. Just combine:

  • 2 tbsp Ancho chile (ends with with an e) powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp ground coriander

Mix to combine. Keep this mix aside.

Want even more flavor? Toast your own Ancho chiles using the instructions below. The flavor will be out of this world good.

Want the easy version? Just substitute all of this with 3 tablespoons of store bought chili (ends with an i) powder. The flavor won’t be as good, but it’ll do in a pinch.

3. COOK THE BEEF

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  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • Salted ground beef

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven, heavy bottomed pot, or pressure cooker over medium-high heat (or sautee mode on an electric pressure cooker) until the oil is hot and just starting to smoke. Add the beef and let the bottom layer get deep dark brown, about 30 seconds. Break up the meat into small pieces using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beef is cooked through and begins to sizzle at the bottom of the pot, about 10 minutes.

4. COOK THE CHILI POWDER

chili_04_cook_chili_powder

  • Chili powder
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

Lower the heat to medium-low. Add the reserved chili powder, tomato paste, and garlic and fully stir them into the beef. Cook the mixture in the beef, stirring constantly, until you can just smell the spices and garlic, about 1 to 2 minutes.

5. ADD THE SHORTCUTS

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  • 2 (16-ounce) jars of salsa
  • 3 handfuls of tortilla chips, crushed into small pieces
  • 2 chipotle peppers canned in adobo sauce, minced
  • 2 tsp adobo sauce (from the can of chipotle peppers)

Add the salsa, crushed tortilla chips, chipotle peppers and adobo sauce and stir it all together.

6. COOK IT THE WAY YOU LIKE

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Here’s the awesome part: you can make this chili using any cooking method you like.

  • Stovetop in a pot: Add 1 cup of water. Reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Let cook, uncovered, for 1 1/2 hours, stirring every once in a while, until slightly reduced and thickened.
  • In the oven: Add 1 cup of water. Transfer the Dutch oven to a pre-heated 275 F for 1 1/2 hours, stirring every once in a while.
  • Slow cooker: Add 1/2 cup water. Transfer chili to a slow cooker, cover, and set to LOW. After chili is boiling, cook for 1 1/2 hours.
  • Pressure cooker or Instant Pot (BEST, fastest method): Add 3/4 cups water. Cover pressure cooker and cook the chili under high pressure for 10 minutes. Depressure naturally, add water if needed until desired consistency.

7. FINISH WITH BEANS AND FLAVOR BOOSTERS

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  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp Asian fish sauce (or soy sauce, or Worcestershire sauce)
  • 1 tsp hot sauce, or more to taste
  • Salt, if needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Stir the chili to combine and fully dissolve all tortilla chips into the stew. Add the beans and their liquid, vinegar, fish sauce (or soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce if you don’t have it), brown sugar, and hot sauce.

The result is a chili that hits home on every note. Rich, hearty, and packed with deep chile flavor yet comforting and balanced enough for the entire family. Take a bite. The chili should taste smoky and spicy, but also just a tad bit sweet. That’s the balance we’re looking for.

What’s more, like any stew, it improves in flavor after a night in the fridge. Perfect because Game Day isn’t enough for a chili like this. You’ll want to eat it again and again.

TIP: USE DRIED CHILE PEPPERS FOR MAXIMUM FLAVOR

chili_08_how_to_grind_anchos_for_chili

Chili powder (with an i) is a mix of ground chile (with an e) peppers and spices intended to be an easy store bought way to flavor chili. You can make better chili (with an i) powder by mixing pre-ground ancho chile (with an e) powder and spices.

For the best flavor, though? Toast and grind your own Ancho chile (with an e) peppers (from the Mexican section of your grocery store’s international aisle) for the chili (with an i) powder. It’s easy and here’s how.

  1. Prepare. Cut the stems off, tap out and discard all the seeds, and cut the peppers into 2-inch strips and place them on a microwave-safe plate.
  2. Toast. Microwave the pepper strips on high in 15-second intervals until the peppers are puffy and super fragrant (trust us, your nose will know).
  3. Grind. Hit the peppers either in a blender or in a spice grinder, working in batches if needed, until ground fine. Add the cumin, oregano, and coriander and grind it all together.
  4. Transfer. Get it to a small bowl and keep it ready for cooking into ground beef.

Congratulations. You just made homemade chili (with an i) powder. Way more flavorful than the store bought mix. You tongue and chili will thank you.

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