Spicy but not fiery, hearty and very satisfying, this is a chili recipe you’ll make again and again. Because the vegetables are sautéed in stages so that their flavors build upon one another, it does take a fair amount of work. But its complexity is well worth the effort. You can substitute other ground meat for the beef here. Dark-meat turkey, pork, and lamb all work well. Or use a combination. Note that chili is always best served the next day, and will thicken considerably in the fridge overnight. Keep this in mind when deciding whether to simmer it at the end.


1 pound dried pinto beans, rinsed

2¾ teaspoons salt, plus more as needed

1 bay leaf

2 to 4 tablespoons bacon fat, olive oil, or other oil, as needed

2 pounds ground beef

2 large Spanish onions, diced (4 cups)

2 poblano chiles or 1 large green bell pepper, seeded and diced

1 large red or orange bell pepper, seeded and diced

5 garlic cloves: 4 chopped, 1 grated on a Microplane or minced

2 to 3 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced

3 to 4 tablespoons New Mexico chile powder

2 teaspoons dried oregano, crumbled

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

½ teaspoon ground coriander

1 small bunch fresh cilantro, leaves and stems separated and chopped

¼ cup beer (nothing too bitter; pilsners and lagers work better than ales)

26 to 28 ounces diced canned (or boxed) tomatoes and their juices

Chopped onion or sliced scallions, for serving

Hot sauce, to taste


  1. Place the beans, 1¼ teaspoons of the salt, the bay leaf, and 6 cups of water in the electric pressure cooker, cover, and cook on high pressure for 30 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally. The beans should be cooked through; if not, return to high pressure for another 5 minutes.
  2. While the beans are cooking, brown the meat and vegetables: Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, and then add 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat. When it’s hot, add half of the beef and ¾ teaspoon of the salt and sauté until the meat is well browned all over, about 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the beef to a large bowl. Repeat with the remaining beef and salt, adding more oil if needed.
  3. If the skillet looks dry, add a little more oil to it. Add the onions and sauté until they are pale gold and limp, about 10 minutes. Add the chiles and bell pepper and a pinch of salt, and sauté until the peppers are tender and the onions bronzed, 10 minutes longer. Transfer the vegetables to the bowl containing the beef.
  4. If the skillet looks dry, add a little more oil. Sauté the chopped garlic and jalapeños until fragrant and tender, 1 to 2 minutes; then add the chile powder, oregano, cumin, black pepper, and coriander. Add the cilantro stems, saving the leaves for garnish. Sauté until the chile powder darkens, 1 minute. Pour in the beer and let it reduce, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan, 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and let simmer until thickened, 5 to 7 minutes.
  5. When the beans are done, add the beef and vegetables, and the tomato mixture, to the beans and their liquid in the pressure cooker pot. Cook on high pressure for 30 minutes. Allow the pressure to release naturally. If the mixture is too thin, simmer it on the sauté function for a few minutes to reduce the liquid. Stir in the grated garlic and chopped cilantro leaves. Serve garnished with the onions and hot sauce to taste.


Cook the beans on high for 4 to 5 hours. Then add the browned meat, vegetables, and tomato mixture and continue to cook on high for another 3 to 4 hours or on low for another 5 to 6 hours.



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