4 cups dry red beans
1 1⁄2 pounds ground beef, coarse grind (you may have to special-order this grind from your butcher)
1 cup chopped onion
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons salt (or to taste)
8 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 1⁄2 teaspoons dried oregano, crumbled
1 1⁄2 teaspoons ground cumin
5 tablespoons chili powder
1 (16-ounce) can tomatillos, crushed
1 (16-ounce) can diced red tomatoes
8 cups beef broth (canned is OK; see note)
Recommended garnishes: grated cheddar cheese, cooked bacon strips, chopped raw onions
Soak the red beans overnight in plenty of water.
Sauté the ground beef and onions together in the oil until meat is beautifully browned. Add the spices, tomatillos and tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes. Stir in the broth. Drain beans and add to pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 1 to 2 hours, or until beans are very tender.
Remove 3 cups of chili and puree in a food processor or blender. Return puree to pot to thicken chili. Serve hot, topped with garnishes of your choice.
Makes 8 generous servings.
NOTE: To improve quality of a canned beef broth, place it in a large pot, along with a cut-up carrot, a chopped onion, 2 stalks chopped celery, a dollop of tomato paste, a bay leaf, a handful of parsley, several cloves coarsely chopped garlic and about 1 cup dry red wine. Simmer, covered, for an hour or so. Strain broth from other ingredients. May be prepared and refrigerated (for 2 or 3 days) or frozen until ready to use.