My favorite is simple but a classic.
10 - 15 Dried ancho/pasillo/new mexico chilies -- for flavor
20 - 30 dried arbol chilies -- for heat
3 lbs good stew meat in .5" cubes
1 onion, small diced
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
zest from one lime
juice from one lime
2 Tbs brown sugar (secret #1)
1/3cup Your favorite tortilla chips crushed into a fine crumb
salt/pepper to taste
2 Tbs fat
De-seed and stem the dried chilies and dry toast in a cast iron pan for a few minuets to bring out the flavor -- stop when you smell the sweet fragrant aroma before they burn. Next grind them into a fine powder with any means available after cooling once they become brittle; add this to the cumin, oregano, brown sugar, and lime zest in a clean container to store until ready for use. This stuff keeps well so make as much as you want and save it for later. It beats the hell out of store bought chili powder.
Next, brown all the meat but do it in about three batches so that it actually browns (depending on the size of your pot); it needs room so the moisture can evaporate without steaming the meat. Reserve the meat in a bowl until ready for use.
Saute the onion in a few tablespoons of fat until translucent in the same pot you browned the meat. It will pickup all the flavor from the browned bits in the bottom and add flavor to the chili.
When the onion is done add 3/4 cup of the chili powder and stir to absorb the fat and coat the onion. Cook for about a minute to coax out the flavors from all the spices but again be mindful of burning.
Once thoroughly mixed add the meat and mix to coat. Add enough water to cover and bring to a stiff simmer, covered. Reduce to low heat an allow to cook for an hour or two.
Half way thru add the crushed corn chips and lime juice and finish uncovered on low heat. Add salt and pepper to taste (I actually do this half way thru and then again at the end if it needs it.)
Serve with any of your favorite stuff on the side. I serve it over brown rice with cilantro, avocado, and shredded cheese.