Smoky chili with chipotle peppers

Sundays are made for big eats. In my house, during the fall Sundays are the day that chores are done, the garden gets sorted, and I usually have a pot of something on the stove, or in the slow cooker. It is also the day that hubby watches european football (soccer) and American football.

American football has a great tradition called tailgating (or tailgate party). It is like a massive picnic/barbecue that takes place outside of the football game. It is usually hosted out of the back of your car, with bbq grills and picnic food. As the season moves on and it gets colder out, you can usually find pots of chili in abundance.

Chili collage - Steph Loves Cake

Now given the manliness of most of the ingredients in the dish, you would be right in thinking that my husband gets involved in the preparation of the chili. It is a family event, even the cats get involved. Ok they just sit there and beg for treats, but it feels like they are involved.

The chili simmers for a couple of hours while you have the time to get on with housework, blog posts, reading a good book, or just relaxing and watching football. The smells are amazing and you will be ready to eat this chili when it’s ready. The chipotles in adobo sauce are readily available in the UK. I get them at Borough Market or I order online.

Smoky chipotle chili - Steph Loves Cake

This chili is a bit spicy, so adjust the chillis to your personal taste and you can temper the chili with tomatoes. I usually serve the chili over rice or jacket potatoes with a bit of grated cheddar and a spoonful or crème fraîche or sour cream.

Smoky chipotle chili - Steph Loves Cake



Smoky chili with chipotle peppers


  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ½ lb bacon pieces or off-cuts
  • 750g lean stewing beef, cut into 1”-2” pieces
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon smoky paprika
  • 3 medium onions, coarsely chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 500 ml beef broth
  • 2 - 400g tins peeled plum tomatoes, undrained
  • 4 dried chipotle chili peppers
  • 1 fresh jalapeño chili, de-seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 fresh thai chili (or similar hot pepper), de-seeded and finely chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 3 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 6 medium tomatoes, cut into quarters
  • 1 shot espresso


  1. Heat cooking oil in large pot or dutch oven
  2. Add bacon and cook over medium heat until crispy.
  3. Transfer bacon to a large bowl; set aside. Pour off and reserve all but 2 tablespoons of bacon dripping from the pot.
  4. In a bag put the flour, salt and paprika. Put the beef pieces in the bag in batches and shake until well coated.
  5. Brown the beef in the pot in 3 batches. Add reserve bacon dripping as needed. Transfer cooked beef to the bowl with the bacon after each batch is cooked.
  6. Add onions and garlic to the last batch of beef and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  7. Return all beef and bacon to the pot.
  8. Add beef broth, tinned tomatoes, peppers, cumin and coffee; bring to a boil.
  9. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 1-½ hours.
  10. Add fresh tomatoes
  11. Uncover; continue to simmer 30-45 minutes or until beef is tender and chili has thickened.
  12. Make 8-10 servings.