Chef Brandon Hay’s Chili Con Carne 

*** Serves 6 ***

3 tablespoons ancho chili powder, or 3 medium pods (about 1/2 ounce), toasted and ground (see note)
3 tablespoons New Mexico chili powder, or 3 medium pods (about 3/4 ounce), toasted and ground (see note)
2 tablespoons cumin seeds, toasted in a dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 4 minutes, and ground
2 teaspoons dried oregano, preferably Mexican
7 1/2 cups water
4 pounds beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
8 ounces (about 8 slices) bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 medium onion, minced
5 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press
4-5 small jalapeno chiles, stemmed, seeded, and minced
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes or plain tomato sauce
2 tablespoons juice from 1 lime
5 tablespoons masa harina or 3 tablespoons cornstarch
Ground Black Pepper

Mix the chili powders, cumin, and oregano in a small bowl and stir in 1/2 cup of the water to form a thick paste: set aside. Toss the beef cubes with 2 teaspoons salt: set aside. Fry the bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium-low heat until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crisp, about 10 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate: pour all but 2 teaspoons of the fat from the pot into a small bowl: set aside. Increase the heat to medium-high: saute the meat in 4 batches until well browned on all sides, about 5 minutes per batch, adding 2 teaspoons additional bacon fat to the pot as necessary. Set the browned meat aside. Reduce the heat to medium and add 3 tablespoons of the bacon fat to the now-empty pan. Add the onion and saute until softened, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic and jalapeno chiles and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the chili mixture and saute until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the reserved bacon and browned beef, the crushed tomatoes, lime juice, and remaining 7 cups water. Bring to a simmer. Continue to cook at a steady simmer until the meat is tender and the juices are dark, rich, and starting to thicken, about 2 hours. Mix the masa harina with 2/3 cups water (or cornstarch with 3 tablespoons water) in a small bowl to form a smooth paste. Increase the heat to medium, stir in the paste, and simmer until thickened, 5 to 10 minutes. Adjust the seasonings generously with salt and ground black pepper to taste. Serve immediately or, for best flavor, cool slightly, cover, and refrigerate overnight or for up to 5 days. Reheat before serving.