Chili and a blizzard go hand in hand. So that is what I made this past weekend when the “blizzard of 2013″ hit our Boston area!
After hours of digging out, (but kudos to the neighbors with snowblowers for doing most of our heavy lifting!!) coming in to chili to warm us from the inside out was perfect!
Chili is such a great thing to eat in general but it is always good on hot dogs, burgers, tortilla chips,salad and my favorite: baked potatoes! I remember when the “Wendy’s” restaurants arrived in New England with their salad bars and baked potatoes. (Yup Wendy’s had salad bars and a good ones too at that time.) My dad and I would sneak down there on the night it was his turn to make dinner and get the salad bar with a cup of chili and the chips. We would crumble up the chips and pile on the cheese. Sometime we got the baked potatoes with the chili and extra fresh chopped raw onion of course! They still offer a “taco salad” and the baked potato with chili but somehow it is just not the same.
My version is fancied up with a little sweet Italian sausage and a can of “Ro*tel” to keep it easy. It is also not crazy spicy (like some of my other chili’s – Holy Mole!) so everybody can enjoy and add their own level of heat with hot sauce of their choice.
1 lb sweet Italian sausage, out of casing and crumbled
1 lb ground beef (leaner is nice)
1 onion, chopped small
1 lg garlic clove, minced
1 can (10oz) original “Ro*tel”
1 can (13oz +/-) red beans or black beans or whatever bean you like
2 Tb ground cumin ( less if you don’t love as much as me)
2 Tsp ground chili powder
2 Tsp smoked paprika (sweet not spicy- or spicy if you like it)
2 Tsp ground Ancho Chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 Large can (28oz) crushed tomatoes
2 Tb brown sugar (you can omit or cut in half if you don’t want it too sweet)
1/2 a can ( the 28oz one) of water
Brown the meats (no extra oil needed) in a heavy bottomed dutch oven, until done. Scoop meat out and set aside. Pour out about 1/2 the fat. In the remaining fat in the pan add the onions and garlic and saute a few minutes. Add all the dry spices and kinda toast for a minute. Deglaze the pan with the tomatoes and Ro*tel. Add the meat back in, stirring to combine everything. Add the water – you may want less for thicker chili or more for thinner chili – also depends on how long you want to/plan to simmer. Add additional hot sauce at this point – I like a good vinegar based one like Tabasco or Texas Pete but you can use your favorite. Add the beans (drain them first) and simmer on low for anywhere from 1- 4 hours to let flavors develop and deepen. This could be transferred to a low slow cooker for the day too. Serve with all the fixin’s! Freeze the extra until the next snow day! It makes a lot!