Chili From Scratch
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 pound ground beef, pork, or a combination
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
- 2 cups chopped tomatoes
- 1 or 2 fresh or dried hot chiles, seeded and minced
- 1 pound dried pinto or kidney beans, rinsed and picked over, and soaked
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves for garnish
- Put the oil in a pot over medium-high heat.
- When hot, add the ground meat and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Adjust the heat so it sizzles steadily and cook, stirring occasionally to break it up, until the meat browns all over, 5 to 10 minutes.
- Add the onion and cook, stirring every once in a while, until it softens and turns golden, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, and oregano and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute.
- Add the tomatoes, chile, and beans to the pot, along with enough water to cover everything by 2 to 3 inches.
- Bring to a boil, then lower the heat so the mixture bubbles steadily but not furiously, and cover.
- Cook, undisturbed, for 30 minutes.
- After that, stir the chili every 20 minutes and adjust the heat so it continues to bubble; add more water, 1/2 cup at a time, if the chili ever starts to stick to the bottom of the pot.
- When the beans begin to soften, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Continue to cook, stirring occasionally and adding water if the pot looks too dry, until the beans are tender but still intact - this will take the same amount of time as it took for them to soften.
- When the beans are very tender, taste, adjust the seasoning, and serve, garnished with the cilantro.