Chile Con Carne
3 tablespoons ancho chili powder
3 tablespoons New Mexico chili powder
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano , preferably Mexican
7 1/2 cups water, divided
1 beef chuck roast (4-pounds), trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 teaspoons table salt , plus extra for seasoning
8 ounces bacon (7 or 8 slices), cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 medium onion , minced (about 1 cup)
5 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 small jalapeño chile, cored, seeded, and minced
1 can tomato sauce
juice from 1 medium lime
3 tablespoons cornstarch
Mix chili powders, cumin, and oregano in small bowl and stir in 1/2 cup water to form thick paste; set aside.
Toss beef cubes with salt; set aside.
Fry bacon in large, heavy soup kettle or Dutch oven over medium-low heat until fat renders and bacon crisps, about 10 minutes.
Remove bacon with slotted spoon to paper towel-lined plate; pour all but 2 teaspoons fat from pot into small bowl; set aside.
Increase heat to medium-high; saute meat in four batches until well-browned on all sides, about 5 minutes per batch, adding additional 2 teaspoons bacon fat to pot as necessary.
Reduce heat to medium, add 3 tablespoons bacon fat to now-empty pan.
Add onion; saute until softened, 5 to 6 minutes. Add garlic and jalapeno; saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add chili paste; saute until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes.
Add reserved bacon and browned beef, crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce, lime juice, and 7 cups water; bring to simmer.
Continue to cook at a steady simmer until meat is tender and juices are dark, rich, and starting to thicken, about 2 hours.
Mix corn starch with 3 tablespoons water in a small bowl to form smooth paste.
Increase heat to medium; stir in paste and simmer until thickened, 5 to 10 minutes.
Adjust seasoning generously with salt and ground black pepper.
Serve immediately, or preferably, cool slightly, cover, and refrigerate overnight or for up to 5 days.
Reheat before serving.
Pairs Well With
I made this for the first time when we'd just moved into a new apartment. The cable guy was here hooking up the cable while I was cooking, and he tried to invite himself to dinner.