Big football weekend = big pot of delicious chili!

A few cold Sundays ago, knowing it would be an afternoon spent watching football in front of the fire, I had a hankering for chili. It had been in the back of my head since we had seen the chili cookoff episode of Top Chef earlier in the month, and knowing that chili is a process rather than a “yikes, it’s 5:30 on a Thursday…what should I whip up?” kind of dinner, I decided the time had come. I searched for a meat-and-beans version that I could cook all afternoon, and the recipe I chose was from Bobby Flay: Beef & Black Bean Chili with Toasted Cumin Crema and Avocado Relish.

I don’t love lots of tomatoes in my chili, and this fit the bill perfectly. For the meat, we used a combination of short ribs and baby back pork, since we really wanted the big pot to simmer all afternoon and result in a rich, silky chili. I was out of pasilla chili powder, so I used a little extra ancho and it was fine. The dark beer lent an almost-chocolatey flavor, and the little bit of chipotle puré gave a hint of smokiness-but not too much. Once I had everything in the pot, I got to sit on my butt and let it simmer on low while a lot of yardage was gained and numerous logs were put on the fire. When dinnertime finally rolled around, the wait was well worth it! We filled our bowls with chili that was rich, succulent and flavorful, and topped it with cool, creamy avocado chunks and tangy, spiced crema. The dish was an instant rave! I had tripled the recipe, and scrambled to freeze the leftovers before the guys could inhale it so that some random Thursday night at 5:30 I could indeed just “whip up” a batch of yumminess. Oh, how I love being a culinary magician!

Beef & Black Bean Chili with Toasted Cumin Crema and Avocado Relish

By Bobby Flay


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 pounds beef, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large red onion, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons ancho chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon pasilla chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 bottle dark beer
  • 5 cups homemade chicken stock, or canned low-sodium or water
  • 1 (16-ounce) can chopped tomatoes, drained and pureed
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle pepper puree
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 cups cooked or canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • Toasted Cumin Crema, recipe follows
  • Avocado Relish, recipe follows


Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat. Season the beef with salt and pepper, and saute until browned on all sides. Transfer the meat to a plate and remove all but 3 tablespoons of the fat from the pan.

Add the onions to the pan and cook until soft. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the ancho powder, pasilla powder, and cumin and cook an additional 2 minutes. Add the beer and cook until completely reduced. Return the beef to the pot, add the chicken stock, tomatoes, chipotle puree, and honey, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, cover the pan, and simmer for 45 minutes. Add the beans and continue cooking for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the lime juice, and adjust seasonings.

Serve with a dollop of Toasted Cumin Crema and Avocado Relish.

Toasted Cumin Crema

  • 1 tablespoon cumin seed
  • 1 cup Mexican crema or creme fraiche
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place the cumin in a small saute pan over medium heat. Toast until lightly golden brown. Place in a small bowl. Stir in the crema and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Place in a squeeze bottle.

Avocado Relish

  • 2 ripe Hass avocados, peeled, pitted and diced
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely diced
  • 1 jalapeno or serrano chile, finely diced
  • Lime juice
  • Chopped cilantro leaves
  • Salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper.

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