This image courtesy of Tom Eckerle

NotesThis chili develops its flavor best over time.  Make it ahead of time and chill.  Next day, skim off the fat and reheat.  The hot chili is served over the cheese and the scallions on top of the chili.



Total Timehalf-day

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

One Pot MealYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together

Recipe Coursemain course

Five Ingredients or LessYes


Taste and Texturehot & spicy, meaty


  • ¾ pound salt pork, diced
  • 7 pounds top round of beef, sliced ¼-inch thick and diced
  • 8 Spanish onions, finely diced
  • 10 cloves garlic, minced
  • 12 ripe tomatoes-peeled, seeded, and chopped with the juices reserved
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • ¾ cup chile powder
  • ½ cup ground cumin
  • 3 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 whole dried poblano chile peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons masa harina
  • 2 bunches scallions, including some of the green, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound cheddar cheese, shredded to accompany the chili


  1. In a large heavy skillet, render two-thirds of the salt pork over moderate heat. Remove the salt pork and place it in a large pot.

  2. Working in batches, brown the meat in the skillet and transfer the meat to the large pot.

  3. Render the remaining salt pork in the skillet. Add the onions and sauté over a moderately low heat until caramelized. When caramelized, add the garlic and cook for a few minutes.

  4. Turn the mixture into the pot. Add the tomatoes and their juices and cook for 5 to 7 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir it into the meat. Add the seasonings, chile, and oregano and salt, and mix thoroughly.

  5. Mix the masa harina with 2 tablespoons of water and fold into the chili. Simmer over moderately low heat for 3½ to 4 hours, stirring from time to time and checking to be sure the chili does not stick to the bottom of the pot.

  6. Before serving, check the seasonings. Depending on the freshness of the chile powder, the strength may vary. You may want additional seasonings.

  7. Serve with sliced scallions and shredded cheddar cheese.


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