It has been a pretty mild winter here in the Northeast… so this weekend when we woke up to a couple of inches of snow dusting the ground I decided that it was the perfect time to make something delicious and comforting- like a big pot of my favorite homemade chili! This was a recipe given to me several years ago by my friend’s husband (who would concoct this chili to enjoy while watching football, but didn’t really know how to write it all down as a real recipe!) and over the years I have modified it a bit to adjust to our family’s preferences. Now you want to start making chili early in the afternoon so it has time to slowly simmer all day long. It will fill your home with the most delicious spicy scent…. adding to the anticipation of the evening dinner hour!
This chili has a base of both ground beef and sausage- and I think that it is the combination of the two that makes it so yumma-licious! So you’ll need to start by browning 2 lbs of ground beef in a big soup pot.
And while the ground beef is doing its thing in the soup pot, you can get down to some serious chopping. And let me just suggest- if you are ever invited to one of those Pampered Chef parties- and you feel as if you can’t leave without buying something because you sat at the host’s house eating her canapés and throwing back a few of her fabulous margaritas… well the thing to buy is the Pampered Chef food chopper. Sure- it will set you back about $30, but let me tell you- there is something so downright soulfully satisfying about using that gizmo to chop the heck out of meats and veggies into tasty little morsels. Of course all of that chopping is a little loud- so you might not want to do while the family is in the next room trying to catch the big game, or when the baby is napping….
And what are we chopping? Well the 1 lb of cooked breakfast sausage patties for starters. I first prepare it in the microwave according to the instructions on the package, and then chop it all up into little bits. Next I dice 2 green peppers, and finally 1 medium-sized onion.
By this point, your ground beef should be nice and browned… drain any excess grease, and return it to the soup pot…
Add your chopped goodies to the ground beef (the sausage, green pepper and onion) along with this line up of zestiness..
1 bottle of beer, 3 tablespoons Worchestershire Sauce, a 24 oz jar of tomato sauce, 2 tablespoons of minced garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. Mix all of that in really well. Then add in 1 tablespoon of chili powder. We’ll ease more in over time as we allow our chili to simmer sloooowly.
Put a lid on the pot, and turn the heat down low, low, low, and allow the flavors to begin to meld together. The key is to cook it nice and slow, lifting the lid every 30 minutes or so to sprinkle in another 1/2 tablespoon of chili powder and stir it lovingly. As you breathe in the simmering goodness, make sure that your chili has a fair amount of liquid in the pot. You don’t want to cook it until it is dry… so make sure that there is always a nice amount of liquid in the pot- adding a little more beer or water if there isn’t enough.
And in the last 1/2 hour of cooking time, add in 2 cans of red kidney beans (drained). Stir well.
Now this is the kind of dish that gets better if you let it sit and rest for a little while before serving. It allows those flavors to continue to build together…. so feel free to just turn the heat off on the stove about 30 minutes before you plan to serve your chili. (Also, if you have any chili leftover- it tastes even yummier the second day!)
You’ll want to serve your chili with some shredded cheddar cheese and a handful of crunchy crackers (I love these Club minis!) Oh, and of course, a bottle of your favorite ice cold beer. The perfect accompaniment.
I plan to share this homemade chili recipe as part of “2012 SoupaPalooza”!