Spicy Chorizo and Pinto Bean Chili

A simple chorizo chili made with fresh chorizo and pinto beans, topped with flavor-packed ingredients. [Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Spicy, vinegary, and flavor-packed, this quick chili recipe relies on raw Mexican-style chorizo (you can make it yourself or buy it from a store), with a few simple flavor additions, a couple of cans of beans, and a quick simmer.

Why this recipe works:

  • Fresh Mexican chorizo is already packed with flavor, so you only have a bit of doctoring-up to do to make this into a chili that tastes like it cooked all day.
  • A dash of fish sauce may seem out of place in chili, but it's the ideal seasoning for adding meaty depth to your stew (and no, the chili won't taste like fish!).
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Spicy Chorizo and Pinto Bean Chili

About This Recipe

Yield:Serves 4 to 6
Active time:30 minutes
Total time:1 hour
This recipe appears in: The Food Lab Turbo: Spicy Chorizo and Pinto Bean Chili
Rated:

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds store-bought or homemade fresh raw Mexican chorizo, casings removed if necessary
  • 1 medium onion, finely choped (about 1 cup)
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3 tablepoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 (14-ounce) can whole tomatoes packed in juice, roughly squeezed through fingers to crush
  • 2 teaspoons Asian fish sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Diced avocado, diced tomatoes, cilantro, sliced scallions, Mexican crema, lime wedges, and crumbled cotija cheese for serving (optional)

Procedures

  1. 1

    Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat until shimmering. Add chorizo and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon or a potato masher, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. There should be about 3 tablespoons oil pooled in the edge of the pan when you tilt it; drain any excess oil if necessary.

  2. 2

    Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add oregano, chili powder, and cumin, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes, fish sauce, bay leaf, beans, and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened to a rich stew-like consistency, about 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper (you may not need any salt, depending on how salty your chorizo and chicken stock were). Discard the bay leaf.

  3. 3

    Serve immediately with diced avocado, diced tomatoes, cilantro, sliced scallions, Mexican crema, lime wedges, and crumbled cotija cheese on the side.

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