Serves 12 (half the recipe for 6 servings)
1 pound yellow onions, chopped (about 4 cups)
1. In a large stockpot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions start to soften.
2. Add the beef, raise the heat to medium-high, and stir for about 5 minutes as it begins to lose its pink color. Add the chili powder, cumin, and pepper and cook for 1 to 2 minutes to let the flavors develop.
3. Add the tomatoes and their juice, beans and their juice, water, tomato sauce, and beef base. Stir to mix well and then add the bay leaves. Stir gently.
4. Reduce the heat to low and let the chili simmer gently for about 2-3 hours, or until the meat is tender. Stir frequently so the chili does not stick to the bottom of the pot. Adjust the heat up or down to maintain a slow simmer.
5. Thin the chili with water, if necessary, and add salt to taste. The beans and the base are already salty. Remove the bay leaves and serve. Serve with shredded cheese, chopped onion, jalapeno peppers, and sour cream.
6. The chili can be cooled and refrigerated for up to 3 days and frozen for up to 1 month. Reheat it gently, stirring frequently.