Smoky Beef Chili with Corn Salsa

Cook, Dinner, In Season, Mains, Summer

Beef chili might not seem a summery dish at first blush, but when you top it with a bright salsa made with in-season cherry tomatoes, corn cut fresh from the cob and zippy lime juice, it adds a refreshing note that turns a winter comfort dish into a summer sensation.


Smoky Beef Chili




For the chili:

  • 4 lb. (2 kg) boneless beef chuck, trimmed of most fat and cut into 3/4-inch (2-cm) cubes
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) canola oil
  • 2 large yellow onions, coarsely chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbs. chipotle chile powder
  • 2 Tbs. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup (8 oz./250 g) tomato paste
  • 2 to 3 cups (16 to 24 fl. oz./500 to 750 ml) beef stock

For the corn salsa:

  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbs. white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. finely grated lime zest
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups (12 oz./375 g) fresh or thawed, frozen corn kernels
  • 2 cups (12 oz./375 g) grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 green onions, including the light green tops, thinly sliced




1. Season the beef generously with salt and pepper. In a large, heavy frying pan over high heat, warm the oil. When the oil is hot, add half of the beef and sear, turning as needed to brown evenly, until golden brown on all sides, about 5 minutes total. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beef to a plate. Repeat with the remaining beef and add to the plate.


2. Pour off most of the fat from the pan and return to medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.


3. Add the chipotle chiles and sauce, chile powder, cumin, oregano, red pepper flakes to taste, and tomato paste, stir well, and cook for 2 minutes. Pour in 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) of the stock and stir to dislodge any browned bits from the pan bottom. Transfer the contents of the pan to a slow cooker. Add 1 teaspoon salt, several grinds of pepper, and 1 cup stock if you prefer a thicker, more intensely flavored chili, or 2 cups (16 fl. oz./500 ml) stock if you prefer a soupier chili (for spooning over rice or moistening corn bread). Stir in the browned beef. Cover and cook on the low setting for 5 hours. The meat should be very tender.


4. About 20 minutes before the chili is done, make the corn salsa: In small bowl, whisk together the mustard, vinegar, lime zest and juice, 1/2 tsp. salt and a few grinds of pepper. Whisk in the oil until emulsified. In a large bowl, combine the corn, tomatoes and green onions. Add 1/3 to 1/2 cup (3 to 4 fl. oz./80 to 125 ml) of the vinaigrette and toss to combine.


5. Ladle the chili into warm shallow bowls and top each serving with a heaping spoonful of the salsa. Serve at once. Serves 8.



The New Slow Cooker



Find more fresh and satisfying recipes for your slow cooker in our
The New Slow Cooker, by Brigit Binns.






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