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Simple Comforts
Sur La Table

We're not even going to touch the debate about what constitutes "real" chili. We just know that this easy-to-make, family-friendly version is hearty and delicious. The generous measure of beans makes it super healthful, too. Fresh chiles and chili powder add a moderate amount of heat, but you can raise the bar a bit with the chipotle cream, adding a little or a lot of heat, to your taste.
Serves 4 to 6


    1/4 cup olive oil
    2 pounds ground beef (80 to 85% lean, if possible)
    1 tablespoons coarse salt, or more to taste
    2 cups chopped yellow onions
    2 medium Anaheim or other mild medium chiles, seeded and chopped
    5 cloves garlic, minced
    2 tablespoons mild chill powder
    1 tablespoon smoked paprika
    1 tablespoon ground cumin
    2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes with juices
    2 (15-ounce) cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained
    6 (4-inch) stems cilantro
    1 cup low-sodium beef broth
    2 tablespoons molasses (optional)
    1/2 cup sour cream or Mexican crema
    1 teaspoon adobo sauce from a can of chipotle chiles, or more to taste (freeze the leftover sauce and chiles for later use)
    1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
    6 lime wedges


1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat Add the beef, season with 2 teaspoons of the salt, and cook, stirring frequently, until the meat has lost its pink color, about 5 minutes Don't let the beef
-actually brown Scrape the meat from the pan to a strainer set over a bowl and drain.

2. Add the rest of the oil to the pan. Toss in the onions and 1 more teaspoon salt. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft and fragrant, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the Anaheim chiles and continue cooking until all the vegetables are soft and just starting to brown around the edges, another 8 to 10 minutes Add the garlic, chill powder, smoked paprika, and cumin and cook for another minute, stirring and scraping so the spices fry slightly in the oil.

3. Add the tomatoes and their juices, breaking them up into bite-sized pieces with a wooden spoon or a potato masher. Add the beans, cilantro stems, beef broth, molasses (if using), and remaining teaspoon salt Stir together, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, uncovered, until thickened and rich tasting, 45 to 55 minutes Add back the beef and simmer for another 15 minutes Taste and adjust the salt and spices

4. Stir the sour cream and adobo sauce together, taste, and adjust the heat level. Serve the chile in bowls with a spoonful of the cream and chopped cilantro on top and a wedge of lime on the side.



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