Wednesday, November 21, 2012

All-American Chili

I was craving chili the other day and did a search on here only to discover that I have never posted my favorite chili recipe!
I had to remedy that pronto!

I've been making this chili recipe for a long time now. My mom's chili is very good, but I love the addition of turkey sausage, wine and a mix up of beans in this one. The original recipe just calls for light kidney beans, but I'm here to say you can mix that up and use whatever you have on hand! In this case,  black and cannelini (which, by the way, are also called white kidney beans) beans were what was in my pantry. I did consider running to the store as I also had ZERO green peppers... but no. I kept repeating that old mantra: Fix it up, wear it out, make it do, go without. Or something like that. I had red peppers in the fridge, so into the pot they went. Always remember, a recipe is a guideline. Make it the original way at first and then play up the parts you love or vice versa. 

This recipes makes PLENTY, so you'll have some to give away or to freeze for another wintery day when you're craving chili.

Now, as I mentioned in this post, (which has a very similiar looking photo! lol) I grew up eating chili on mashed potatoes, so don't freak out about my picture there. That's just what I like. My husband... purely a tortilla chip and chili kinda guy. The kids ate this, too, but only the first day and refused leftovers. Fickle people.

As written, this is not a spicy chili at all. So if you like the heat and can take it... by all means turn up the volume. This is great for feeding a crowd of varied "heat indexes", the spice lovers can toss in their hot sauce of choice and the weaklings will love it.

All American Chili
adapted from Cooking Light, 2003

2 links sweet Turkey sausage
2 small onions, diced the way you like
1 green pepper (or red), chopped
1 lb lean ground meat
1 jalapeno pepper (I often forget this), diced
1 1/2 - 2 Tbs chili powder
1 Tbs brown sugar (optional, I left it out once and didn't notice)
1 Tbs cumin
3 Tbs tomato paste
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tsp salt
2 bay leaves
3/4- 1 1/4 cups red wine, Merlot (the amt is based on how much I have left in the bottle ;-)
2 cans whole tomatoes, undrained and coarsely chopped
2 cans beans, light kidney or combination black and cannelini works
shredded cheddar
adobo seasoning

1. Heat large pot and add turkey sausage, squeeze out of the casings and sauté. Add onion, peppers, ground meat and jalapeńo. Continue to sauté, about 8 min., until meat is cooked. While cooking, use back of spoon or fork to crumble meat.

2. Add chili powder through salt. Cook for 1 minute and stir to combine. Add bay leaves- I wait so as not to crumble the bay leaves.

3. Add wine, tomatoes, and beans. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 1 hour.
(At this point, once it comes to a boil, you could turn it off, put it in a container and pop it in the fridge to reheat the next day(in a crock pot!) Chili is always better the next day.)

4. Uncover, take out the bay leaves, and cook 30 minutes more, add adobo seasoning if you think it needs a little something or some more cumin. Again, adjust the tastes to YOUR liking.

5. Serve in big bowls with a sprinkling of cheddar cheese on top (and with mashed potatoes if you're me)