This robust chili will take the chill off on a cold winter night.
See photos with step-by-step directions for this chili.
2 pounds cubed stew beef
1 1/2 cups (8 ounces) chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 cups (15 ounces) chopped tomatoes, fresh or canned
6-ounce can tomato paste
1 cup (5 ounces) diced fresh green bell pepper
2 tablespoons dried cilantro (optional, but good)
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 to 2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 to 2 1/2 teaspoons salt, to taste
up to 4 tablespoons sugar, to taste, optional; cuts the acidity of the tomatoes
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chili pepper, cayenne pepper, or a few dashes hot sauce, optional
1 tablespoon cornmeal
1 cup (8 ounces) water
1 can (15 ounces) dark red kidney beans or black beans, well-drained
In a large skillet, brown the meat in oil, in batches if necessary, and drain it well. Add the chopped onion, and cook until the onion is soft. Add the garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, peppers, spices, and cornmeal, stirring to combine and allowing to simmer for about 1 minute, just till everything is hot.

Spoon the chili into an ovenproof 2- to 2 1/2-quart crock or casserole dish; add sufficient water to cover the meat. Cover the dish, with a lid or foil, and bake the chili in a preheated 275F oven for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the meat is tender. Stir the chili after 1 hour, adding a bit of beef stock or water if most of the liquid has evaporated, and it seems dry.

Half an hour before serving, stir in the beans, and cook until heated through. Garnish the chili with fresh cilantro and sour cream (with a bit of lime zest added to it), if desired. Yield: 8 to 10 servings.

Note: This dish is easily prepared in a slow cooker; cook on high for about 3 hours.