Food by VICE

Easy Red Chili Recipe

No beans, the way a good chili should be.

by Amanda Catrini
Feb 20 2019, 2:00pm

Photo by Heami Lee

Servings: 6
Prep time: 30 minutes
Total time: 3 hours


for the chili:
1 ounce|30 grams dried pasilla chiles
1 ounce|30 grams dried guajillo chiles
1 ounce|30 grams dried chile de arbol
2 tablespoons kosher salt, separated
2 teaspoons ground cumin
½ cup|125 ml canola oil
3 pounds|1.3 kg boneless beef chuck, cut into 1-inch pieces
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 large onion, chopped
½ cup|70 grams masa harina
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

for serving:
steamed white rice
sour cream
thinly sliced scallions
lime wedges


1. Bring 10 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the chilies, remove from heat, and let soak for 30 minutes. Drain, reserving the cooking liquid. Remove the seeds and stems from the chilies and transfer to a blender with 1 tablespoon salt, the cumin, and ¾ cup chili liquid. Purée until smooth, then push through a fine mesh sieve.

2. Meanwhile, heat the canola oil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high. Season the beef with the remaining tablespoon of salt and cook the beef, turning as needed, until seared on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

3. Add the garlic and onion and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Stir in the reserved chile paste and cook for 1 minute, then add the reserved beef. Cover with 3 cups of the chile soaking liquid and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until beef is fork tender, about 1 ½ hours.

4. In a small bowl, whisk the masa harina and granulated sugar with 1 cup water. Add to the saucepan and cook for an additional 30 to 45 minutes, or until the beef is falling apart. If the chili is getting too thick, add an additional water to reach desired consistency. Season with salt and serve over rice. Top with sour cream and scallions and serve with lime wedges.