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Beef and Three Bean Chili

People have strong feelings about chili. Some people refuse to use beans other than red navy beans. Others refuse to use beans at all. Still others won't eat chili unless it's served over spaghetti (I see you, Cincinnati). I, on the other hand, am an equal opportunity chili lover. Give it to me with chicken or beef, beans or no, as long as it's spicy and piping hot I'm going to go all in, piled high with all my favorite toppings and served with tortilla chips for dipping.

Beef and Three Bean Chili

(Makes 2 quarts)


  • 2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

  • All Purpose flour

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

  • 1 large red onion, diced small

  • 4-6 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 tablespoons light chili powder

  • 2 tablespoons chipotle chili powder (Note: If you don't have any chipotle powder just double the amount of light chili powder.)

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin

  • 1 chipotle chile in adobo, minced

  • 1 12-oz bottle of beer (preferably darker beer)

  • 5 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade)

  • 1 (15oz) can diced tomatoes with juice

  • 1 (15oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed

  • 1 (15oz) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

  • 1 (15oz) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

  • Fresh limes, shredded cheddar cheese, Greek yogurt or sour cream, diced avocado, and tortilla chips, for serving


  • Pat beef dry with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper and dust with flour. Heat oil in a dutch oven or large pot. Working in batches, brown beef on all sides then remove to a bowl. Add onion to pot. Stir and cook until translucent. Add garlic and chili powders and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add beer. Using a wooden spoon, scrape the fond (the crusty cooked bits from the beef) off the bottom of the pot. Allow the liquid to reduce by about half. Add the chicken stock, the minced chipotle pepper, and the beans. Bring to a boil then simmer 30-45 minutes, until slightly thickened and flavors have melded. Serve topped with a squeeze of lime, shredded cheese, a dollop of yogurt and diced avocado. And don't forget the tortilla chips for dipping.

One of the best things about chili, of course, is that you can make it in advance, making it an ideal camping meal. Make a big batch at home and heat it up at camp, like we did on a recent trip to the Sequoia National Forest. Your belly will thank you.

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