Red Beef Chili

Bobby Flay brings his signature heat to this chili with layers of rich, spicy flavors. The onions and chiles are sauteed in reduced beer[ and chocolate, and maple syrup is stirred in at the end for sweetness. A dollop of toasted cumin crema on top adds a cool, creamy finish to this red-hot dish.]

Total Time:
2 hr 30 min
30 min
2 hr

6 servings

  • 7 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
  • 4 pounds bottom round beef, cut into 1/2 -inch cubes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • One 12-ounce bottle dark beer
  • 1 large red onion, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon seeded and chopped habanero
  • 1 Thai bird chile, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 poblano, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon cascabel chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle pepper puree
  • 1 tablespoon pasilla chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon New Mexican chile powder
  • 5 cups homemade chicken stock, canned low-sodium broth or water
  • One 16-ounce can whole tomatoes, drained and pureed
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped semisweet chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup, or more as needed
  • Toasted Cumin Crema, recipe follows
  • Toasted Cumin Crema:
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 cup Mexican crema or creme fraeche
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat. Sprinkle the beef with salt and pepper and add one-third of the meat to the pan and saute until browned on all sides. Repeat with the oil and meat, draining any excess liquid from the pan between the batches. Return the meat to the pan, sprinkle with the cumin and stir well. Deglaze the pan with the beer and bring to a boil. Cook until the beer is almost completely reduced. Remove the meat from the pan and set aside.

In the same pan, add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the same pan and then add the onions and cook on medium heat until soft. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the habanero, Thai bird, jalapeno and poblano peppers and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the ancho chile pepper, cascabel chile powder, chipotle pepper puree, pasilla chile powder and New Mexican chile powder, and cook an additional 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock and tomatoes, bring to a boil and cook until slightly thickened, 15 to 20 minutes.

Puree with an immersion blender. Add the beef back to the pan, reduce the heat to medium, cover and simmer until the chili is thick and the beef is tender, about 1 hour 15 minutes. If the chili has too much liquid, continue to cook uncovered to thicken, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, add in the chocolate and maple syrup and stir until the chocolate is melted and combined and adjust seasonings. Serve with Toasted Cumin Crema.

Place the cumin in a small saute pan over medium heat. Toast until lightly golden brown. Place in a small bowl. Stir in the crema and season with salt and pepper. Place in a squeeze bottle for serving.

From Food Network Kitchens; after further testing and to ensure the best results this recipe has been altered from what was in the actual episode.

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Pairs Well With
Dark Beer

Toasty, bracing beer

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    65 Reviews
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    This is a great recipe! I left out the habanero and Thai chili, but used a whole jalapeno and cut the beef to 3 lbs. Added red and black beans at the half-way cooking point. Like others have recommended, I doubled down on the chocolate in my second batch and it came out perfect to our taste. Plenty hot, but balanced. I realize that I've made a few alterations to the original recipe, but the key is the base layers of chili powders, beer, onions, and cumin remain the same. This is the best chili recipe for depth of flavor and texture.
    This has to be the best chili I have ever had. Period.  
    Complex chili flavor. Not too much heat. Lots of meat and the wonderful taste of onions all come together beautifully. I can't taste the beer but the color of the beef is just gorgeous after browning it. This is my second time making it and I did some modifications just for fun: I added a little extra syrup just, but I like my chili a little on the sweet side to balance the heat. I also add about 10 garlic cloves and did not use a habanero pepper, Instead added some smoked paprica. I found some roasts on sale, but they were not very marbled and I really wanted my chili to fall apart. So I cooked it like the recipe states, then stuck it in the fridge overnight. The next morning (today) I pulled it out and cooked it on Low for about another 1.5 hours and the meat just fell apart. Flavors are just perfect and I'm so glad I made a double batch so I can have leftovers.
    Pretty spicy but good. I personally think twice the chocolate and twice the maple syryup makes it more balanced. Not sure if it was me or the recipe, but meat seems a little over done. I would defiantly make this again, but I might adjust the meat cooking time. Just because, I think this would be great over quinoa as an added ingredient.
    This recipe is the most amazing Chili ever attempted. BOBBY FLAY IS THE MAN AND WILL ALWAYS BE! Ok, that being said : I decided to make these few alterations : Use an entire bar of Chocolate that is at LEAST 70% Cocoa, with no added sugar. It's the pure cocoa that will add the amazing depth to this dish. Use half the bar during the reduction of the beer with the simmering beef, and WAIT to add the other half until the last hour of cooking. I also added a cup of Sherry (red wine would work too, mushrooms, and 1 cup of kale/chard. It adds a real earthiness to the dish. THANK YOU SO MUCH BOBBY FLAY FOR THE INSPIRATION!
    Chocolate, chili and dark beer - what's not to love about this recipe. I liked using all the different chilies as each one has a different flavor. I also like chili made with chunks of beef rather than ground meat. I also made this a day ahead to all the beef to soak up all the spices. Splendid recipe, but not for those with timid palates.
    GREAT! Did make modifications. Used 1 pound ground beef (halved recipe, no peppers, but did use one can of Rotel diced tomatoes with chilies and two diced chipotles in adobo. Added 1 Tablespoon of ancho chili powder, one teaspoon of regular; 1/2 tablespoon of Montreal Steak seasoning (has garlic on my ground beef and 1/2 red onion. Used one square of bakers semi-sweet chocolate. Used Agave syrup instead of maple, and used IPA instead of dark beer. Served in bread bowls -- my family loved it! My husband thinks the chocolate made the difference. Balanced with plenty of heat.
    This is my new favorite chili recipe. I cook down the liquids so it is not watered down and when complete you can taste every ingredient. Fantastic, even when I made it with ground turkey.
    I like the way the chocolate and maple syrup balance out the heat. Yum!
    This is an incredible chili recipe. I can't eat beans so am always looking for new ways to cook dishes which usually include beans. The beer and chocolate were incredible. I couldn't find the thai chili or the pasilla and cascabel chili powders. Just used more of the mexican chili and regular chili powders. Used two jalapenos since I didn't have the thai chili. Not too hot. Some nice heat at the back of your throat but none on the tongue. Ate over rice and added fresh chopped onion and cilantro with the crema. To die for!! 
    This dish had a very rich taste. I did have to take some of the heat out with extra tomato sauce. Also, the ratio of meat to sauce was a little heavy on the sauce side. We served it over rice, and I also added white beans to half the recipe. The creme friach was amazing! I will make this one again!
    Best chili recipe I've had so far. I made it per directions except used half the water, and omitted Thai bird chili, since I don't have that one. The beer, chocolate and blend of chili's make this so rich and complex. Yum!
    the chocolate and the beer come together to do some amazing things
    Only bad thing about this leftovers and an overfull stomach. Yum!
    Tastes great. Very similar to the one i makke, but what i add is baja chili seasoning and it just gives it that kick.  Bajachili dot com. Also, try adding a half an orange to the pot. Very tasty!
    I entered this recipe in our neighborhood chili cooking contest. I suggest you make it the night before you serve it and let it sit overnight. Upon first tasting my tastebuds were on fire; however, when it sits the flavors blend and the spicyness tones down. Warning: the chili peppers are hot, hot, hot. Don't touch your face after dicing the peppers. Yikes! I thought it was on fire. The remedy? Maalox. Worked like a charm.
     It was worth it. I won the contest! Thanks, Bobby!
    awesome recipe. hey people if its too soupy just simmer until desired thickness is reached!! Used regular chili powder and left out the thai bird. About double on all the peppers including the chipotle. Have to add a few more tablespoons of chili powder and cumin at the very end, but hey its an excellent base recipe!
    This is an authentic New Mexican/Southern Colorado red, meat chili. If you are looking for a bean/meat, chunky North American chili to top with cheese and onions and eat with tortilla chips, then this is not the recipe for that occasion. This is a fantastic, delicious, chili that works great with pan fried or warmed tortillas de harina (flour tortillas. Try it with buffalo! Thanks AGAIN, Bobby!
    The best of all chili recipes. Thanks Bobby!!!
    Oh my, oh my, oh my! This recipe has been the basis for my chili experimentation lately. There are times when I need to turn up the heat (like when I substitute bear or any other game meat for the steak). Then I leave the seeds in on the Habbies and Thai bird chile and set my food processor to liquify (just for those 2 ingredients). I also prefer honey to maple syrup at double the measure. Thank you for a fine base recipe to play with.
    Bobby, Hats off to you man my name is John im a chef in Dallas i used your recipe at in a chili cook off and really enjoyed. So did the judges my son his girl friend and i won . Great recipe man thanks. John Stout
    Bobby sounds like that chili is right up my alley. I love watching you show and Man Vs. Food.
    This was probably the best chili recipe we have ever tried. It was hard to replace our previous recipe that we have been using for over 10 years and try a new one but we are very glad we did. This chili recipe is amazing. Everyone loved it.
    Absolutely amazing, deep rich flavor with a slight kick. I did some research on dark beer and decided to use Negra Modelo which worked out great. I prepared a day in adavance and followed the recipe exactly including the Toasted Cumin Crema and I would not change a thing!
    WE've been using the same chili recipe for years but decided to giv ethis one a try. We actually had all of the peppers except for the rare one. THis recipe was a complete disappointment. It totally lacked the depth of flavor we expected - like a house with no foundation. It was also incredibly soupy. We're going back to our tried and true recipe.
    okay...i little on the thin consistency, plus, after hunting down all of the seasonings and peppers, flavor was a little disappointing.
    Looking for a good recipe with no beans and this will be our chili from now on. Just a few of the ingredients that we couldn't find (Thai bird chili) but it was still great. Added some ground beef to it. Be sure to use the immersion blender (we went out and bought one) it really thinkens it up.
    If Chili could be orgasmic, this is the real deal! The layers of flavor are phenomenal.
    I was looking for a chili recpie without beans, and this was perfect. Great depth of flavor!
    I entered this in a chili contest and I shouldn't have. I normally really like your recipes, but this fell really short. There was really something missing. Sorry Bobby I will not be using this recipe again:(
    I usually try a different recipe every time I make chili.. searching for my chili-nirvana.. lately I've been trying the ones on the International Chili Society's website - they list all the grand-prize winner's recipes, but decided to try this one today. Wow. This one is by FAR our favorite. Lots of layers of flavor coming thru here. The heat pops you at the end, but isn't one that lingers.. it makes you want more! I will def be using this one for awhile.. thanks man!
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