- 3 ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
- 1 quart beef stock
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 4 slices lean, smoky bacon, chopped
- 2 pounds ground sirloin
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 can diced fire-roasted tomatoes (15 ounces)
- 2 tablespoons smoked sweet paprika for mild mole, or chili powder for spicy mole (a couple of palmfuls)
- 1 tablespoon coriander (a palmful)
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Salt, if necessary
- 2 cups shredded or crumbled extra-sharp white cheddar
- 1 small red onion, finely chopped
- Hot pickled vegetables (giardiniara), drained and chopped, for serving
Put the chiles in a pot with the stock and bring to a boil over medium heat. Lower the heat to a simmer until softened, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the oil, one turn of the pan, over medium-high heat in a large Dutch oven or soup pot. When the oil smokes, add the bacon and cook until crispy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the meat, raise the heat to high and brown for 8 minutes. Lower the heat a bit, add the onion and garlic and cook for 5-6 minutes to soften. Season the meat and onion with black pepper, to taste (hold off on the salt until the chili is completed due to the addition of the bacon and the stock).
Add the anchos with the stock to a food processor and puree until smooth. Set aside.
Add the tomato paste to the meat mixture. Stir for 1 minute, then pour in the ancho stock. Stir in the tomatoes, spices, cocoa and cinnamon. Simmer for a few minutes, adjust the seasoning and add a touch of salt, if needed.
Serve the chili in shallow bowls topped with the cheese, raw red onion and spicy chopped vegetables.