Inspired by Barbara Sibley of La Palapa
2 lbs gound beef (not extra lean)
6 guajillo chiles *
12 chiles de arbol *
2 cups chopped onion
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
3 Tablespoons canned, mashed chipotle chiles in adobo sauce*
2 cups tomato puree
2 teaspoons ground cumin
salt to taste
1 Tablespoon fresh oregano (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon thyme (dried or fresh)
1 bay leaf
¼ cup corn oil
2 cups cooked dried pinto beans
1 cup chopped, seeded red peppers
1 cup chopped, seeded poblano chiles
½ cup chopped seeded jalapeños *
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
1. The day before making the chile, rinse the dried pinto beans well in several changes of water, cover with fresh water to 2 inches above the level of the beans, cover, and allow to soak overnight. The next day, drain the beans, and put in a pot with fresh water to cover by 2 inches and cook over medium heat, skimming any foam that develops, for one- two hours or until the beans are soft but not mushy. Do not add salt to the beans, as it can toughen them.
2. Wearing gloves, wipe the chiles de arbol and guajillo chiles clean with a damp paper towel. Remove the stems and shake out seeds. Put the chiles in a hot dry pan and toast over high heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Place chiles in a non reactive bowl and pour one cup of boiling water over them. Allow to soak for 30 minutes. Blend well in a blender with as much of the soaking water as is need to blend well. Strain through a sieve. Mix in chipotles in adobo. Set aside chile puree.
3. In a deep sauté pan or 3 quart stock pot add the corn oil, onion and garlic and cook at medium heat until translucent. Remove and reserve.
4.Add the beef to the hot pan and sauté until no longer pink. Drain through a sieve to remove most of the fat. Return the beef to the pan with the onions and garlic.
5. Add the tomato and the chile puree* to the beef and cook for about 3 minutes at medium heat. Add in the oregano, cumin, black pepper, thyme, bay leaf and salt to taste. Continue to sauté for one or two minutes or until the spices are aromatic.
6. Stir in the cooked beans, chopped red pepper, poblano chiles, jalapeños and cilantro. Lower heat to a simmer and cook about 15 minutes or until some of the liquid is reduced. Stir in pomegranate molasses.
5. Allow Chili to rest at least 24 hours to let the flavors mellow.
Garnish as desired. For the cook-off chili was garnished with chopped mixed hot chile peppers and popcorn dusted with Ancho Chile Powder
*Note: This is a very spicy chili! If you prefer less heat you will want to experiment with the * items on the ingredient list and reduce the amounts accordingly.