I used to think chili was a mishmash of ground meat, powdered spices, and chopped bell peppers. This is, after all, how everyone made it when I was growing up. It wasn't until I was an adult that I realized chili is really a stew. Historically, it's more like Beef Bourguignon than a sloppy joe in that it's made of chunks of meat, vegetables, and a simmering liquid. Sure, the vegetables are chilies, but the core starting point -- slowly braised hunks of meat -- are what make chile and other stews not only similar, but appealing in the first place. So how do you make a great pot of meat chili? Let's break the process down into easy categories.