With all due respect to Chef Grant Achatz, I suspected halfway through making his chili recipe that he was trying to kill me with the amount of spice - or at least burn out my esophagus. My quick fix was to add a lot more beans and a little unsweetened cocoa to mellow it out. Further attempts refined the amount of chile and beans for a smoky-yet-bright, rich, definitely higher-in-fiber result that still carries enough heat to be respectable. I'm a midwesterner (like the chef himself), so this always gets eaten with elbow mac or ditalini and topped with cheese. —jillyp
approx. 5 quarts
large onions, finely chopped
large green bell peppers, finely chopped
cloves garlic, minced
ground pure ancho chile powder
ground pure pasilla chile powder
low-sodium beef broth
large (1 lb., 13 oz.) can pinto beans
large (1 lb., 13 oz.) can black beans
14 oz. can diced tomatoes with the juices
diced chipotle chiles in adobo, seeded and finely chopped
In a large, heavy pot or a medium enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the oil. Add half of the ground beef and cook over high heat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 5 minutes; transfer to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Brown the remaining ground beef. Return the first batch of browned beef to the pot.
Add the onions and pepper to the pot and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, chile powders, cumin, coriander, sugar, thyme, oregano, black pepper and cayenne and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in the beef broth, pinto beans, tomatoes, chipotles, tomato sauce, tomato paste and the vinegar. Add the cocoa powder to taste. Simmer the chili over low heat for at least 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Add the lime juice.