Spicy Beef Chili

BASE

  • 1 lb ground beef, lean
  • 1 lb sausage
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (to brown meat with)
  • 2 cans 16 oz Kidney beans
  • 1 16 oz. jar of Pace Chipotle Picante Sauce (medium)
  • 1 small can of tomato paste (4-6 oz.)

VEGETABLES

  • 2-3 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-3 carrots, diced
  • sweet onion, medium-sized, diced (I like the Vidalia or sweet onions)
  • 1 small can sliced or chopped olives (6-8 oz)
  • 1 package of young portabella mushrooms, discard the stems, chopped
  • bell pepper (red), diced
  • bell pepper (orange or yellow), diced
  • jalopeño pepper, diced
  • chili pepper, very finely diced—handle carefully or with gloves!

SPICES

  • 2 tbsp cayenne
  • 2 tbsp ground paprika
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • bay leaf
  • 1 tsp dried, chopped basil
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 3-4 tbsp dried, chopped oregano
  • 1 tbsp powdered beef bouillon
  • 1 tbsp powdered chicken bouillon
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2-4 tbsp brown sugar (to taste)

FINISH

  • 1 tsp vinegar (white, or basil)
  • Additional brown sugar to taste

SERVE

  • 1 cup Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup sour cream

PREPARATION

This chili may take up to an hour or to prepare—depending on whether you chop vegetables by hand or not. It tastes great cooked quick as well as slow, but your mileage may vary.

Sear the onion, garlic, and bell peppers before placing in crock pot—don’t cook them fully, you just want to lightly carmelize the vegetables for a sweeter taste (look for golden color on the onions). Toss the chili into the crock pot raw. Prepare the remainder of the vegetables as shown above and place in bottom of 4-6 qt. crock pot.

Add all spices. Optionally, you could prepare the spices before hand and cook them into the meat. This will bring out more of the flavor and infuse it with the meat.

Add the 2 cans of kidney beans, draining the beans is optional. Turn crock pot on LOW.

Combine meat, brown in skillet with olive oil until all pink in the meat is gone, and drain fat before adding to crock pot (drain fat if desired, there’s depth of flavor in the fat, but when your chili cools it’ll have a thick skin on top if you don’t drain it). If all the meat doesn’t fit in your skillet, divide in batches. The browning is an important step because it brings out greater flavor in the meat. (Some like to add the spices to the browning process to infuse the meat with more flavour.

After searing both the vegetables and browning the meat, add a little wine or water to the skillet and cook over flame, stirring sides with a ladle to loosen what was left behind—add this to the crock pot.

Finally, add your tomato paste last.

Cover crock pot. After an hour or two stir contents once. Leave covered for 7-10 hours. In the last hour, add vinegar as flavor enhancer. At this time add more brown to taste.

Remove bay leaf.

Serve with grated cheese and chilled sour cream.

Makes 10-15 servings.