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Beef and Pinto Bean Chili with Toasted Cornbread Crumbles

Scott Phillips

Servings: 6 to 8

Now here’s a chili for the meat and the bean lovers at the table. Plump pintos make this dish doubly satisfying. Toasted cornbread crumbles may not be your usual chili topping—but that’s exactly why you should try it here. It’s SO worth the extra step.


  • 4-1/2 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • 2 lb. beef sirloin tips or lean chuck steak, trimmed of excess fat, and cut into 3/4-inch dice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onion
  • 2 to 4 medium cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 oz. dried mushrooms, such as shiitake or porcini, rinsed and chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 Tbs. chili powder
  • 1 Tbs. ground cumin
  • 1 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. pure ancho chile powder
  • 1/2 tsp. pure chipotle chile powder
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3/4 cup beer, preferably lager
  • 1 14-oz. can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1-1/2 cups beef broth (homemade or lower-salt store-bought)
  • 7 cups cooked pinto beans (home-cooked or canned from four 15-oz. cans, rinsed and drained)
  • 1 Tbs. red wine vinegar
  • Garnishes: sour cream, diced red onion, sliced scallion, chopped pickled jalapeños, and toasted cornbread crumbles

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 620
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 210
  • Fat (g): 23
  • Saturated Fat (g): 7
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 5
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 9
  • Cholesterol (mg): 75
  • Sodium (mg): 790
  • Carbohydrates (g): 61
  • Fiber (g): 13
  • Protein (g): 42


  • Heat 2 Tbs. of the oil in a heavy-duty 6-quart pot over medium-high heat until shimmering hot. Pat the beef dry, and season with 1-1/2 tsp. salt and 3/4 tsp. pepper. Cook half of the meat, undisturbed, until browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and cook, turning occasionally, until well browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a large plate. Add another 1 Tbs. oil to the pot, and brown the remaining meat; transfer to the plate along with any liquid from the pot.
  • Add the remaining 1-1/2 Tbs. of oil, the onion, and garlic to the pot. Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. salt and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the dried mushrooms, chili powder, cumin, tomato paste, ancho powder, chipotle powder, cinnamon, and bay leaf, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Pour in the beer, turn the heat up to high, and cook, scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen any browned bits, until most of the liquid is evaporated, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the canned tomatoes and beef broth and bring to a simmer.
  • Turn the heat down to medium low. Purée 1-1/2 cups of the beans in a blender or food processor, adding a little stewing liquid as needed, and then stir the puréed beans into the stewing liquid in the pot. Return the beef, along with any accumulated juice, to the pot. Add the remaining whole beans. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the meat is tender, about 1 hour. If the chili gets too thick, thin it with a little water.
  • Stir in the vinegar, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve with the garnishes.


Rate or Review

Reviews (2 reviews)

  • txcook13579 | 10/15/2017

    This is great chili, and easy to make. I have made it with all the beans called for, but prefer to use about 2.5lbs beans, (two large cans), half run through the food processor. I add dried chili peppers that have been reconstituted, puréed, and strained of skin. This adds additional depth. Make this chili a day or two before serving to allow flavors to mellow.
    This is not a true Texas chili, but tasty non the less.

  • jemstones | 09/30/2015

    Used 3 cans of beans instead of 4. Also, instead of pureeing the beans I just mashed them with with a potato masher just to save some time and mess. DH & I both thought it was yummy.

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