I've been making this forever,and it was the first thing I cooked for my husband. Gets you through a Chicago winter day with plenty of warmth. I use it as the base for a Chili Bar at parties, or just make it on a snowy weekend for me and my honey. —stacey_ballis
ground beef (or bison)
italian sausage meat, sweet or hot, removed from casing
dark cocoa powder (be sure it is unsweetened!)
dried thyme leaves
dried oregano (Mexican if you can find it)
2 14.5 oz cans
crushed tomatoes, San Marzano if possible
beer, whatever you have around
3 15 oz cans
cannelini beans (or other small white bean, or your preferred bean)
In This Recipe
Heat oil in large pot till shimmering, then add onions and cook till translucent.
Add garlic and meats (sausage meat removed from casing) and cook till lightly browned. I use a potato masher to break the meat up as it cooks.
Add spices and herbs and tomato paste and cook additional 10 minutes
Add tomatoes with juice, beer, and cocoa powder and simmer over medium heat for 30 minutes.
Add beans and cook 10 minutes to heat through.
For best flavor refrigerate overnight and then reheat slowly over med-low heat on stovetop or in a slow cooker on low.
You can substitute ground turkey meat and turkey sausage for a lighter version, or Smart Ground meat substitute for vegetarians.
For parties, I love setting up a Chili Bar. I will make a regular version, and either a turkey or veggie version and lay out the following for people to really customize their perfect bowl!
Shredded Cheeses (sharp cheddar, pepper jack, goat cheese)
Chopped roasted chilies (jalapenos or Anaheim or pepperdew)
Chopped roasted sweet red peppers
Guacamole or Chopped Avocado
Nacho Cheese Sauce (one large brick Velveeta melted with one can Ro-tel diced tomatoes and green chilies with the juice)
Roasted Corn (cut off the cob)
Fresh chopped tomatoes
Red Pepper Flakes
Different Hot Sauces
Corn Bread Croutons (make a not-too-sweet cornbread recipe, let sit overnight, cut into squares, spray with cooking spray and toast in a 400 degree oven for 5-10 minutes until crisp)
Jalapeno Oil (blend fresh jalapeno with olive oil and strain)
For fun bases:
Baked Potatoes (regular and sweet)
Fried Tortilla baskets (corn and/or flour)
Shredded lettuce for making taco salads
Cooked macaroni or spaghetti (toss in olive oil to prevent sticking)
Cooked Rice (toss in olive oil to prevent sticking)