Chili con carne is one of those dishes with as many variations as there are minutes in the day. Our slightly spicy, subtly smoky version keeps it simple but is still full of flavor and packed with enough meat to make Dr. Atkins proud.
What to buy: Ancho chiles are commonly used in Tex-Mex cooking; ancho chile powder can be found in most gourmet grocery stores and Latin markets. If you’re having a hard time finding it, you can substitute regular chili powder, but check the ingredients, because many brands have salt and garlic added and will therefore change the flavor of the dish.
Chipotles are dried, smoked jalapeño peppers. We call for the canned variety, chipotles en adobo, packed in a spiced tomato sauce. Look for them in the Latin section of your supermarket.
Game plan: Like all stews, the flavors develop as this dish sits, so go ahead and make it up to 2 days ahead of time and rewarm it to serve.
Beverage pairing: Valduero Rosado, Spain. Spanish rosés often have a nice earthiness, which is key for a dish loaded with cumin and chiles. This wine throws gentle red-berry fruit into the mix. Its lightness counteracts some of the weightiness of the ground meat.