Hearty Chili Con Carne
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This hearty chili con carne is for meat lovers! With beef chuck and ground pork, this recipe makes a rich, thick chili with Tex-Mex flavor.
If you’re looking for the perfect meal for the big eaters in your family, you have come to the right place!
I have an easy recipe for Instant Pot chili that is perfect for a quick family meal, and my green chili chicken will warm you up on a cold night. But when you want a meal that will keep you full for a while, hearty chili con carne is the recipe you need to make!
Ingredients for Hearty Chili
To make a stick-to-your-ribs meal like this one requires more than just lean ground beef. We make it with TWO types of meat; chopped beef chuck and ground pork.
To make it thick and hearty, we use a puree of soaked ancho and guajillo chiles, garlic, cumin, and other spices. It’s the perfect Tex-Mex meal.
To make the chile con carne, you will need:
- beef chuck roast – Cut the roast into cubes about 1/4-inch in size
- ground pork
- large white or yellow onion
- cooking oil – Authentic chili con carne is made with lard or vegetable oil. Lard is high in saturated fat, so if you want to keep the cholesterol down, use a plant-based oil like avocado or olive oil.
- kosher or sea salt
For the Chile Purée (Con Carne Sauce)
- dried chiles: I use a combination of dried Ancho and Guajillo chiles. You can usually find them in the produce aisle of your grocery store, or in any Mexican specialty food market.
- jalapeño or serrano chile peppers
- garlic cloves – Feel free to use minced garlic from a jar if that is more convenient for you
- black pepper
- oregano – I like to use Mexican oregano, which has notes of licorice and lime. It’s different than traditional Mediterranean oregano that you usually see in the spice aisle of grocery stores. If you can’t find Mexican oregano, the traditional oregano will work just fine.
Chili Con Carne Recipe Video
To see how easy it is to make a hearty chili like this, just watch the video in the recipe card at the bottom of this post!
- Soak the chiles. First, you’ll need to soak the dried chiles in boiling water to soften them. It only takes a few minutes and the water doesn’t need to be at a full rolling boil.
- Make the chili con carne sauce. After soaking, add the chiles to a blender with garlic, jalapeños and all of the Tex-Mex spices. Pureeing them creates a thick paste, which is used to thicken the chili
TIP: If you can’t find dried chiles in your local grocery store, you can usually find them in specialty Mexican grocery stores.
Otherwise, substitute 1/3 cup chili powder. In this case, there will be nothing to soak. So, simply skip the soaking process and go straight to Step 2 in the directions shown in the recipe card below. Instead of using the soaking liquid when you make the puree, you can use hot water.
- Brown the beef and pork. Be sure to cut the chuck roast into bite sized pieces. Cook both meats together in a pan over medium-high heat. Then, add the chopped onions and saute them with the meat mixture until they get a little charred. This process will help to build LAYERS of flavor.
- Add the sauce to the pot. Pour the chili con carne sauce over the top of the browned meat and cook for a few minutes. Then, add the water and place the lid on the pot.
- Cook. Bring the contents to a boil, cover and simmer on low for two hours. After an hour of cooking time, stir the contents. If the consistency looks a little too thick, add some water or beef stock.
What comes out of the pot is a thick, hearty chili that is sure to please even the hungriest of eaters.
Hearty Chili FAQ
If there’s too much liquid in your hearty chili con carne, make a roux by combining 2 tablespoons lard or vegetable oil and 2 tablespoons of flour in a frying pan. Cook over medium heat for several minutes, then stir the mixture into the chili and cook for 3-5 minutes.
Yes, if you store it in an airtight, freezer safe container or Ziploc bag, chili will keep well in the freezer for up to 4 months.
A hearty chili like this one goes well with a basket of Mexican cornbread and a variety of chili toppings. Here are a few ideas:
- diced onions
- shredded cheese
- sour cream or avocado crema
- diced avocado or guacamole
- chopped cilantro
- jalapeño slices
This post was originally published on Kevin is Cooking in June 2018. The content was last updated on Aug 11, 2021.
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Hearty Chili Con Carne + Video
- 2 lbs beef chuck diced into 1/4-inch cubes
- 2 lbs ground pork
- 1 large onion chopped
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil or lard
- 2 tsp salt
Chili Con Carne Sauce
- 4 dried Ancho chiles
- 4 dried Guajillo chiles
- 2 jalapeno peppers or serrano chiles
- 8 cloves garlic cloves
- 2 tbsp ground cumin
- 2 tbsp paprika
- 1 tbsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp Mexican oregano or traditional oregano
- 2 tsp sugar
- Place dried chiles in a container, cover with boiling water and weigh down to submerge (I use a plate). Set aside to soften for 20 minutes. Remove and discard seeds (for less heat, optional) and stems.
- In a blender, purée soaked chiles, 2 cups of the soaking liquid, garlic, cumin, paprika, black pepper, Mexican oregano and sugar (See Note 1).
- In a large skillet or Dutch oven heat vegetable oil over medium high heat and brown the diced beef chuck and ground pork. Season with salt. Add the onion and cook for 3 minutes.
- Pour chili con carne sauce over browned meat and cook for 3 minutes, stirring often. Add enough water to cover by an inch and bring to a boil. Close the lid, lower the heat and simmer for 2 hours. Stir occasionally (See Note 2).
- Season to taste. Serve with toppings of choice like shredded cheese, sour cream, onions, cilantro and sliced jalapeños.
- If you can’t find the dried chiles, substitute 1/3 cup chili powder and obviously skip the soaking and go straight to Step 2 above. Instead of the soaking liquid, you can use hot water.
- If consistency is too thick, add more water. To thicken, add 2 tablespoons of lard or vegetable oil and 2 tablespoons of flour to a frying pan and cook for several minutes. Stir this roux mixture into the chili and cook for 3-5 minutes to thicken.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
History of Tex Mex Cooking
I’ve been reading up on the history and influence of Tex Mex food lately, and it’s so interesting. Apparently, it was difficult for Spaniards to get colonists from Spain to come over to the wilderness we know today as San Antonio, Texas.
In 1731, Spain recruited 15 families from the Spanish colony of the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa to settle and build it up. The families were given titles as an enticement.
This has been a possible reason for the different exotic influence of spices and how they were used compared to the traditional Mexican flavors traced back to Mexico City, which was entirely different. Original inhabitants of the Canary Islands were the Guanche, a Berber people hailing from Morocco where the heavy use of spices in foods was the norm.
This is just simply amazing and so versatile for many uses. Super easy to make too. My new go to!
Excellent! So happy you enjoyed this one Pam.
Excellent, thanks so much for coming back to let me know!
I just made your chili con carne and OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s amazing! I can’t wait to pour it over Fritos! I have made a few things for our RV trip coming up and put them in freezer. Can’t wait to eat all these goodies! Have a great weekend.
Thanks for letting me know Pam, glad you’re enjoying the recipes. 🙂
Can I add beans to the chili?
Absolutely Rui. This is strictly a chili con carne recipe, which has no beans. Pintos, black or Great Northern work great!
Thank you. Can’t wait to try this recipe.
I’m currently cooking this for Cinco de Mayo, during the corona pandemic 2020…OMG, the flavor is incredible! I used Santa Cruz chili powder, it’s some of the best out there. This chili reminds me of Texas brick chili, you can buy in the fridge section of grocery. That’s a compliment trust me. I used ground beef, and some left over chuck roast that I had pressure cooked the other day, I’m thinking it’s gonna be a winner, after I turn this into your frito pie dish, I cant wait to eat tonight!
Thank you for sharing that! I am so glad you found this recipe to enjoy!
Can I use ground beef instead of beef chuck?
Yes. I hope you enjoy!
Great recipe for authentic chili con carne. Going the extra step to soak the dry peppers is certainly worth the little extra time. This adds depth and layers to the dish and also adds that extra spicy kick. I added a little too much water when I added in my puree, but leaving it on the stove for a little extra time made the consistency just right and allowed the meat to get extra tender. I will definitely be making this again!
I am so glad you enjoyed it Tim! Good thinking on what to do to get the consistency just right!