Chili is one of the first things that I learned to cook on my own. Like, even in the midst of being a terrible, hopeless version of a culinary hot mess, I could at least muster the skillset needed to make a decent pot of chili. And let me tell you, it was a serious source of pride. I bragged about it quite a bit (I mean, IF I were the bragging type), and if I ever needed to contribute something edible to a social event, chili it was. Excuse me, what's that you say? You're having a French Bistro themed potluck and need me to bring a side to accompany your Coq au Vin? Perfect, chili for everyone! I'm sure even the French love a hearty Mexican flavored stew alongside their...uh....French flavored stew.
Luckily, my general culinary skills have improved in the past few years, and so has my chili recipe! I've gotten lots of ideas from Diners Drive Ins and Dives....have you ever noticed they make a LOT of chili at the places Guy Fieri visits? I love that show...I so want to own a dive (a gourmet one of course) one day and be on the show. I'd make my chili! And tell the entire TV audience about the time I made chili for my darling husband and put a little extra cayenne in there just for a bit of a kick. And then he ate it and fell to the ground, rolling around screaming about how his taste buds were burning off. He swore he couldn't taste food for a week. He's always exaggerating - I wonder where he gets THAT!?!
Anyway, my chili recipe has evolved into something quite tasty, if I do say so myself. I make it with black beans instead of kidney beans, because kidney beans are big, and big beans are creepy. I also use ground sausage in addition to ground sirloin, because well, sausage is delicious! And I add corn because corn makes it prettier! The whole thing comes out a little different every time since I just eyeball the ingredients, but I'll try to reign it in here so you don't burn off your spouses' taste buds. We wouldn't want that.
Black Bean Chili with Spicy Sausage
Source: A "Cooking With Wine" Original!
1 package Jimmy Dean 1/3 less fat sausage (the kind in a roll)
1 pound ground sirloin, 93% lean
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 sweet onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large can crushed tomatoes
1 regular sized can diced tomatoes with green chiles
1 bottle quality dark beer
few splashes of chicken or beef stock to taste (depending on how chunky you like your chili)
1 can black beans, drained
1 can sweet white corn, drained
1/3 package store-bought chili seasoning
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon blackening seasoning
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
salt and pepper to taste
shredded cheddar, sour cream, and cilantro for garnish
Heat oil over medium heat in a large dutch oven. Add onions, bell pepper, and garlic and cook until soft. Move veggies to the side of the pan and turn heat up to medium high. Add sausage and ground beef and brown, breaking up with a wooden spoon.
Add all seasonings (store bought chili seasoning, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, blackening seasoning, cayenne, onion powder, garlic powder, chipotle, and salt and pepper). Stir to combine.
Add crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, beer, black beans, corn, and chicken/beef stock. Stir.
Let simmer on stovetop for at least 20-30 minutes.
Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream, and cilantro for garnish.