4ouncesdried chilesNew Mexico (California), guajillo, or pasilla chiles, or a combination
1teaspoonblack pepperfreshly ground
⅔CupBacon fatmay substitute vegetable oil
4poundsboneless beef chuckwell trimmed and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
4½cupswaterplus more as needed
2tablespoondark brown sugarfirmly packed
3tablespoonsdistilled white vinegar
For the chili paste
Heat a dry skillet over medium high heat. Toast the chilis, being careful not to burn. 2-3 minutes per side, until they become fragrant.
Place the chilis in a large bowl and cover with hot water. Use a plate to weight them down if necessary. Let them soak for 30 minutes. then drain, reserving the water,
Remove the stems and seeds, and place the chilis in a blender, along with the cumin, black pepper, 1 tablespoon of salt, and about a cup of the reserved liquid. Puree until smooth.
For the chili
Place a deep skillet or soup pot over medium high heat. Melt half the bacon fat in the pan, and sear the beef, about a pound at a time, until deeply golden, about 8 minutes. remove the beef to a large bowl.
Reduce the heat to medium low. Pour off any excess fat into the bowl with the beef.
Add the onions to the pan and cook until golden, about 10 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Add 1 cup of the broth to deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom to release the flavorful brown bits.
Add the beef back into the pan, along with the chili paste and the remaining broth. bring to a low simmer. simmer, uncovered, for 2 hours. If the chili gets too dry, or the meat is not covered, add a little of the reserved chili liquid or some water.
Stir in the brown sugar and the vinegar. Simmer for 10 minutes more, then add salt to taste.