Big Boy Chili and Beans

Total Time:
5 hr 40 min
Prep:
20 min
Cook:
5 hr 20 min

Yield:
12 servings (20 cups)

Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or bacon fat
  • 1 1/2 pounds onions, coarsely chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced or crushed through a press
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef, sirloin, or chuck
  • 2 pounds lean ground pork
  • 3/4 cup chili powder, preferably a mix of half ancho and half pasilla, but any will do
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes, undrained and roughly chopped
  • 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 3 bottles (12 ounces each) dark or medium beer, such as Mexican Dos Equis, Heineken, or Beck's
  • Beans:
  • 6 slices hickory-smoked bacon, finely chopped
  • 1 pound dried small pink beans, soaked and still in their soaking liquid
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced or crushed through a press
  • 2 teaspoons salt
Directions
  • Spoon the oil into a large, heavy casserole or Dutch oven set over moderate heat. Add the onions and saute until softened and lightly colored, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 2 minutes. Reserve.

  • Return the pot to moderate heat and crumble in the beef and pork. Increase the heat to high and brown well, without stirring, for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to moderately high and brown, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes longer. Return the onions to the pot and stir in 1/2 cup of the chili powder, 2 tablespoons of the cocoa, 2 tablespoons of the sugar, 1 tablespoon of the cumin, 1 tablespoon of the oregano, fennel seeds, salt, cayenne, and bay leaves. Add the tomatoes and their juices, the tomato sauce, 2 bottles of the beer and 4 cups of water. Bring the mixture to a boil over moderate heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 3 hours. Stir gently every 30 minutes, but do not stir during the last 15 to 20 minutes so all of the fat will rise to the top.

  • Meanwhile, prepare the beans. Put the bacon in a large, heavy saucepan set over moderate heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until crisp and deep golden brown. Spoon off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat. Drain the beans (no matter which soaking technique you have used) and measure the liquid. Add water to make 6 cups. Add the beans and liquid to the bacon in the pan and bring to a boil, stirring frequently, over moderate heat. Reduce the heat to low, partially cover, and simmer for 1 hour. Add the garlic and salt, partially cover, and simmer until the beans are tender, about 1 hour longer. Remove from the heat and set aside. When the chili has cooked for 3 hours, degrease it, skimming off most of the fat. Place a paper towel flat on the surface to soak up any remaining fat repeat, if necessary. Stir in the remaining 1/4 cup chili powder, 1 tablespoon cocoa, 1 teaspoon cumin, and 1 teaspoon oregano. Taste for balance of acidity to sweetness and stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar, if needed. Add the beans and their cooking liquid. Set the chili aside to cool to room temperature. If making ahead, cover and refrigerate overnight. Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees. Stir the remaining 1 bottle of beer into the chili. Bake, uncovered, for 2 hours, stirring once in a while. Serve hot.


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