chiliDrizzly winter days call for warm foods, like Chili! I decided while at Whole Foods that I needed to make chili, even though, surprise, I’ve never made it before. I knew I had all of the appropriate chili powders at home, since I do use those fairly often, so it was off to the meat counter to chat with the butcher. I had him cube some beef chuck for me and I also got some ground buffalo, for a different texture. I searched, and combined a few recipes (a lot of Bobby Flay plus some others) and came up with this. It was a big hit! I served it with the guacamole on the side, and topped it with a heap of cheddar, and a swirl of cumin flavored sour cream.


Olive Oil
2 pounds beef (chuck), cut into ½ – 1 inch cubes
½ pound ground buffalo
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 tablespoons ancho chili powder
½ tablespoon chipotle chili powder
½ tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
8 ounces dark beer
2 cups homemade chicken stock, or canned low-sodium or water
1 (28-ounce) can san marzano tomatoes, with their juice put through a food mill
1 tablespoon chipotle pepper puree
1 tablespoon honey
1 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat. Season the beef with salt and pepper, and sauté until browned on all sides. You may have to do this in batches – do not crowd the meat or it will steam instead of browning. This should take about 8-10 minutes per batch. Transfer the meat to a plate. Add ground buffalo, season w/ salt and pepper and cook 3-5 minutes till browned. Transfer to the plate with the meat.

Add the onions, pepper and celery to the pan and cook until soft. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the ancho powder, chipotle powder, chili powder, and cumin and cook an additional 2 minutes. Add the beer and cook until completely reduced (about 15-20 minutes). Return the meat to the pot, add the chicken stock, tomatoes, chipotle puree, honey and chocolate, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, cover the pan, and simmer for 2 hours. Add the beans and continue cooking for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the lime juice, and adjust seasonings.

Serve with a swirl of Cumin Crema, guacamole, grated cheddar and corn bread.

Cumin Crema:

1 pint creme fraiche, Mexican crema or sour cream
1 tablespoon cumin seeds, toasted & ground
1 tablespoon fresh lime
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Whisk together ingredients in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Place in a squeeze bottle. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.


2 ripe avocados
½ – 1 jalapeno pepper, finely diced
½ red onion, finely diced
juice of ½ lime
1 tsp chipotle chili puree
Mash the avocado in a bowl. Mix in remaining ingredients.

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