Real Texas chile con carne is all about the beef and the chilies. In this version, we start with toasted whole dried chilies and puree them with broth and spices before adding beef chuck and cooking the whole thing down in a pressure cooker. 30 minutes later, you've got spoon tender chunks of beef in a rich, complex chili-based stew.
'Chili' on Serious Eats
Whether you're making real Texas-style chile con carne, a quick weeknight ground beef and canned bean chili, or even a vegan or vegetarian version, the best thing you can do to up your chili game is to leave those jars of pre-ground chili powder on the shelf. Starting your chili with honest to goodness real whole dried chilies will save you money while adding layer upon layer of complex flavor that you never thought was possible.
A chile verde with chicken gives these nachos a hefty fruity, tangy, and spicy start, but it's the addition of a creamy pepper jack sauce, cooling avocado salsa, and fresh cilantro, onion, jalapeños, and radish that makes them incredible.
I grew up eating my mom's layered chicken enchilada casseroles made with canned sauce and tons of sour cream. While I've still got a soft spot in my heart for that dish, this version, with its smoky charred poblano salsa, tender braised chicken thighs, and moderate use of cream and cheese, is its more sophisticated, grown up cousin.
This green chili recipe incorporates leftover turkey with a salsa verde base containing tomatillos, serrano peppers, onions and garlic that are blasted under the broiler. It's given backbone from ancho powder, smokiness courtesy of cumin, and aromatics by way of oregano. It's then thickened with cornmeal, bolstered by white beans, and finished with all of the fixings.
To be frank, I'm not 100% certain where this dish of tender chicken and white beans bound in a creamy, fresh green-chili sauce topped with shredded cheese comes from. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the recipe actually originated on the back of a wrapper from a can chopped green chiles. But our version is better than that. Much, much better. Tender, creamy, spicy, and bright, this is the stuff even a dyed-in-the-wool chile con carne traditionalist will dip their finger into when they think nobody is watching.
This hearty chickpea salad flavored with bacon, cotija, and roasted chilies is easy to make and only gets better as it rests overnight. This is a dish custom-made for making ahead and packing on a camping trip or for lunch at the office.
I spend a lot of time writing about complex techniques, but in truth, most of the stuff I like to cook for myself at home is pretty simple. This is one of those nice and easy summer dishes that relies only on great produce—zucchini, summer squash, and tomatoes—and simple technique, but comes with a little bit of a rough twist at the end.
This corn soup, from The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook by Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer Purcell (co-authored with Sandy Gluck), is laced with a bit of chipotle powder for a smoky, toasty edge, which is enhanced by roasting the corn kernels with poblano and red bell peppers. A simple and sweet broth is made by simply simmering the cobs in water for a short spell, and the soup is finished with heavy cream, because why not. It looks rich, but it feels surprisingly light and goes down all too easily.
These flaky Jamaican meat patties are filled with curried ground beef, onion, garlic, and Scotch bonnet pepper, plus a slew of aromatic herbs and spices. Formed into half-moon shapes, the patties are cooked until golden in the oven—eating them is almost as good as an actual trip to Jamaica. Almost.
Coming from a book with 'meat' in the title twice, Tom Mylan's chili in the The Meat Hook Meat Book is unsurprisingly brimming with a ton of meat. Okay, not a ton, but an impressive five pounds—two of beef, two of pork, and one of lamb—or 20 quarter-pounders, to put things in perspective.
These Mexican-flavored peppers sport a cheesy, creamy beef-and-rice filling that's spiked with chili powder and cumin. It's topped with an enchilada-style sauce and gets its depth from ancho chili and unsweetened cocoa powders and its aromatics from cumin and lightly floral Mexican oregano.
We may balk at the thought in America, but guinea pigs (cuy) are considered a delicacy in the Andean regions of Peru. Martin Morales's grandmother specialized in a particular preparation of the animal, braised in a sauce of fiery chilies and ground peanuts.
Two types of beans, red kidney and green beans, are combined with pickled red peppers and fire-roasted jalapeños in this amped-up redux of the time-honored three-bean salad.
Hearty bean-based salads are one of my favorite dishes in the summertime. I grew up eating a corn and black bean version, but these days I'll throw just about any vegetable into a bowl with a can or two of beans and a tangy dressing and call it dinner.
Meet the ultimate, upgraded Tex-Mex Enchiladas: Tortillas, rolled up around a cheddar-based filling and completely enveloped by a rich red chili sauce, then topped with even more melted cheese. The sauce is rustic and aromatic, with a haunting cumin aroma and a heat from the chilies that doesn't attack so much as slowly tickle the back of your tongue. We've taken a few liberties, but they're worth it.
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.
Butterflied flank steak rubbed with a garlicky chili rub, then layered with roasted green chilies and pepper jack cheese gets rolled, sliced, and grilled until smoky and charred.
Ultra-crisp potatoes fried in chorizo fat with chunks of chorizo, seared green chilies, and scallions, all topped with baked eggs, avocado, and cilantro. It's a heck of a way to start the day.