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1. Mix chili powders, cumin, and oregano in small bowl and stir in ? cup water to form thick paste; set aside. Toss beef cubes with 2 teaspoons salt in large bowl; set aside.
2. Fry bacon in large Dutch oven over medium-low heat until fat renders and bacon crisps, about 10 minutes. Remove bacon with slotted spoon to paper towel lined plate; pour all but 2 teaspoons fat from pot into small bowl; set aside. Increase heat to medium-high; saute meat in four batches until well-browned on all sides, about 5 minutes per batch, adding 2 teaspoons bacon fat to pot each time as necessary. Set browned meat aside in large bowl.
3. Reduce heat to medium and add 3 tablespoons bacon fat to now-empty pan. Add onion and saute until softened, 5 to 6 minutes. Add garlic and jalape?os and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add chili powder mixture and saute until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Add reserved bacon and browned beef, crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce, lime juice, and 7 cups water. Bring to simmer. Continue to cook at steady simmer (lowering heat as necessary) until meat is tender and juices are dark, rich, and starting to thicken, about 2 hours.
4. Mix masa harina with 2/3 cup water (or cornstarch with 3 tablespoons water) in small bowl to form smooth paste. Increase heat to medium, stir in paste, and simmer until thickened, 5 to 10 minutes. Adjust 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.
NOTES: To ensure the best chile flavor, we recommend toasting whole dried chiles and grinding them in a minichopper or spice-dedicated coffee grinder, all of which takes only 10 (very well-spent) minutes. Select dried chiles that are moist and pliant, like dried fruit. To toast and grind dried chiles: Place chiles on baking sheet in 350-degree oven until fragrant and puffed, about 6 minutes. Cool, stem, and seed, tearing pods into pieces. Place pieces of the pods in a spice grinder and process until powdery, 30 to 45 seconds. For hotter chili, boost the heat with a pinch of cayenne, a dash of hot pepper sauce, or crumbled pequin chiles near the end of cooking. Serve the chili with any of the following side dishes: warm pinto or kidney beans, corn bread or chips, corn tortillas or tamales, rice, biscuits, or just plain crackers. Top with any of the following garnishes: chopped fresh cilantro leaves, minced white onion, diced avocado, shredded cheddar or Jack cheese, or sour cream.
This takes some extra time and effort but the results are worth it.
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