California Tri-Tip Chili

Ancho (Ahn-cho) Chile (Capsicum Annum) means Wide Chile Pepper. This chile ranges from 3 – 4 on a heat scale of 1 to 10. An Ancho is the dried form of a Poblano Pepper and often is mislabeled as a Pasilla or Mulato Pepper. Anchos have sweet fruity flavor with hints of cherry, prune, and fig. Anchos, combined with the Pasilla and Guajillo, form the Holy Trinity of chiles used to prepare the traditional mole sauces. Scoville heat units are 1,000 to 3,000.

Suggested Use:
Anchos are great in salsa, soups, enchilada and any sauce needing mild heat and chile flavor. Chopped, pureed or ground, they can be added directly to your recipes.

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3 large dried ancho chiles
3 slices of bacon, diced
2 large onions, chopped (2+ cups)
2 to 3 pound tri-tip roast, cut into 2 to 3 inch cubes
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon ground oregano
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 10-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 12-ounce bottle dark ale beer *Sam Adams*
1 cup of chicken stock (more if needed)
1/4 cup cilantro stems
1 to 2 bay leaves
2 cups butternut squash, cubed and seeded
Optional garnishments: shredded cheese like fontina or gouda, sour cream, bacon, chopped green onions, additional butternut squash


Warm 2 to 3 cups of water until boiling. Place dried ancho chiles in a medium heat resistant bowl and cover the chiles with enough boiling hot water to let soften. Let soften for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.

Drain the chiles and reserve at least 2+ cups of the soaking liquid. Place chiles in blender or food processor and add 1 cup of the soaking liquid, garlic cloves, ancho chili powder, cumin seeds, oregano, coriander and cilantro stems. Puree until smooth. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. In a large dutch oven over medium-high heat, add the butter and saute the bacon until crispy, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the bacon and place on a towel-lined plate. Add the chopped onions and cook until tender and translucent. Add the beef chunks and lightly sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh black pepper. Stir to coat and let beef and onions cook for about 5 to 7 minutes, until the beef is no longer pink.

Add the chili puree, fire-roasted tomatoes, chicken stock, bay leaves and beer. Mix to combine and bring to a simmer. Cover and place in oven. Cook for about 2 1/2 hours, until the beef is fork tender. Uncover the chili and add butternut squash cubes and reserved bacon and cook for another 1/2 hour until the squash is tender. Add more of the reserved soaking liquid or chicken stock, depending if you want it spicy or not.

Taste for seasonings, add salt and pepper. Let cool for at least one hour and then scoop a hefty serving in bowls with desired toppings.

Yield: 10 hefty cup servings.