Since chili is one of hubs' favorite things, it was one of the first things I attempted to make early in our marriage. Back when I knew nothing about much of anything about cooking! As I've improved in the kitchen, so has my chili. It's gone through several renditions over the years, but this is the version I've been making for the past several. It's thick, meaty and a tad spicy.....and it's always a hit during football season when the weather starts to cool off a bit.
Here's my cast of characters....cubed filet mignon, hot italian sausage, ground chuck, onion, garlic, kidney beans, black beans, jalapeno (or other hot pepper), chipotle peppers in adobo, canned tomatoes (crushed and diced), cumin, coriander, pimenton, ancho chili powder, and cayenne pepper.
Hubs informed me early on that he liked big chunks of meat in his chili. Back in the day, I couldn't afford filet mignon, so I used the only chunks I saw at the meat counter....stew beef. It worked fine!
For a little heat and extra flavor I use equal parts hot italian sausage and ground chuck. If spicy is not your thang, use mild italian sausage.
Start by heating your oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat.
Add in your chopped onions and saute until translucent, about 10 minutes. Don't forget to season with salt and pepper as you go. Add the garlic and saute for about 1 minute.
Because there is so much meat, you'll need to brown it in stages. I like to start with the sausage because it has the most flavor. Let's get this party started early, I say. Brown that up and then remove it with a slotted spoon to a large bowl and set aside. I then usually have to spoon out some of the extra fat that's accumulated. Leave about two tablespoons in the pan.
Next brown the filet until it's medium rare. Then toss it into the bowl with the browned sausage.
And finally brown the ground chuck.
This is where I thrown in whatever hot pepper I'm using. I generally use a jalapeno pepper, but since I have an abundance of these little Cuban peppers (my gardener planted them and didn't label them, so I'm not sure exactly what they are, but I love them!). Like I said, if you're not into spicy, leave these out or thrown in some chopped sweet red pepper. It's your party....spice if you want to!
Now it's time for everyone to get into the pool. Throw all that browned meat back in along with all of those accumulated juices. Once all the meat is back in the pot add all of the spices along with the chipotle peppers and let them get acquainted for a few minutes. Drain and rinse all of the beans and add them along with the cans of diced and crushed tomatoes.
Bring all of that to a boil, reduce the heat to low and let simmer for about 15 minutes. Give it a taste and adjust your seasonings. It might need a little more cumin or a little more heat in my case! It's flexible. You can absolutely serve at this stage, but I think chili is one of those things that just gets better every day, so I often make this the morning before I want to serve it or even the day before just to let all of the flavors fully develop and become one with each other!
For your football party, set out a group of condiments.....shredded monterey jack, sour cream, chopped cilantro, chopped green onions and some crushed tortilla chips (hubs prefers the blue ones)....and let your guests create their own perfect bowl.
Here's the recipe:
Jilla's Gameday Chili
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, finely minced
2 lb filet mignon, cut into bite size cubes
1 1/2 lb hot italian sausage, casings removed and crumbled
1 1/2 lb ground chuck
2 15oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 15oz cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 28oz cans Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes (if you can't find the fire roasted ones, regular works fine)
2 28oz cans Fire Roasted Crushed Tomatoes (ditto!)
2 chipotle chilis in adobo, chopped
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
1 teaspoon hot pimenton (smoked paprika)....you can also use mild pimenton
1/2 tablespoon ground cayenne pepper
Salt and Pepper