Lamb Chili

I almost called this the best lamb chili ever, but I don't really like superlative titles like that, even though it very well might be. I also almost called this "tri-lamb chili" because there are three types of lamb, but then people might have thought it had something to do with nerds. So I settled on the humble name like I usually do with my recipes.

I had made a bunch of lamb dishes in the past few months, and I had scraps from all the different cuts of lamb in the freezer. I realized it would be great to combine all the different types of lamb into one decadent pot of chili. There was lamb bacon that added a nice fatty smokiness, lamb leg that provided heartier bites of tender meat, and ground lamb that gave the whole chili that familiar chunky texture.
Toast the dried chiles dry in the pan before you start. Open a window cause you will be coughing. Sear and remove all the different types of lamb one by one. Veggies in next. Onion, bell, poblano, and fennel. Then some garlic and jalapeno. Add a can of tomatoes and all the meat back in. Next, pour in all the chiles that have been blended with chicken stock. Finally, some soaked beans. Season with cumin, oregano, and some honey. Let it simmer for about 4 hours. Once it is done, check on the seasonings and adjust as needed, adding more cumin, honey, salt, pepper or oregano if needed. Break up the lamb chunks by fishing them out with a spoon and pressing them with a fork. The last step is to whisk in some masa harina to thicken the broth and add a subtle little cornbread flavor. The best way to describe the flavor profile of this chili is deep and dark. The dried chiles add such a depth of flavor and bitterness, and all the lamb makes the broth so rich. That’s why the avocado, cilantro, and sour cream are perfect as toppings because they add some lightness, freshness, and a little tang. This was my favorite chili that I have had in years.

Lamb Chili

  • 1.5 Cups Dried Pink Beans
  • 5 Dried Ancho Chiles
  • 5 Dried Anahiem Chiles
  • 2 Quarts Chicken Stock
  • 1/2 Pound Lamb Bacon
  • 1 Pound Lamb Leg
  • 3/4 Pound Ground Lamb
  • 1 Large Onion (diced)
  • 1 Large Bulb Fennel (diced)
  • 1 Bell Pepper (diced)
  • 2 Poblanos (diced)
  • 4 Jalapenos (diced)
  • 5 Cloves Garlic (minced)
  • 28 Ounces Canned Diced Tomato
  • 1.5 Tablespoons Cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon Oregano
  • 2 Tablespoons Honey
  • 1/2 Cup Masa Harina
  • Avocado
  • Cilantro
  • Sour Cream

Instructions

  1. Soak the beans overnight
  2. Cut the chiles with scissors and remove most of the seeds and stems.
  3. Add the chiles to the pot and cook on high heat stirring often. Cook about 5 minutes being careful not to burn. Pour the chiles into another smaller sauce pot and add in the chicken stock. Bring to a simmer and simmer on low while you sear all the lamb.
  4. Start with the bacon, cooking it until lightly browned. Remove from pot. In the same oil, sear the chunks of lamb leg. Remove from pot. Add in the ground lamb and cook to brown. Remove from pot.
  5. Add in all the veggies (except for the garlic) and cook about 10 minutes to sweat and reduce. Season well. Cook them on fairly high heat to get a little color on them as well.
  6. Add in the garlic and cook 3 minutes. Add in the spices and cook 2 minutes.
  7. Add in the canned tomatoes and add all the lamb back in. Add in the honey.
  8. Meanwhile, pour the stock and chile mixture into a blender. Blend until smooth. Add to the lamb pot. Cover and simmer for 4 hours, stirring occasionally.
  9. Add in a little water if it looks dry. Whisk in the masa harina and simmer another 10 minutes.
  10. Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed. Serve with cilantro, avocado, and sour cream.