Chili is an all-time favorite comfort food – a perfect dish on a cold day in the middle of winter – with plenty of leftovers, that reheat easily in the crock pot, and almost alway taste even better after the flavors have melded together even more overnight.
I like to make mine with a 3:1 mixture of beef and sausage — or.. if we’re lucky enough during hunting season, I’ll swap out the beef with venison. While I have tried Italian sausage before, it comes out best with a Jimmy Dean regular roll of sausage.
Start off by browning the meat in a Dutch oven, draining the grease, and setting the meat it aside in a bowl.
Deglaze the pan with a little red wine (my preference is Port, for the added sweetness). Next, add a chopped onion and 4 cloves of garlic. While those are getting a head start sautéing, chop up the bell peppers and mushrooms, and then add them to your pot.
I pickled a ton of jalapeños and cherry hots from the garden this year, so I added a few of these in for extra flavor.
After the veggies have softened, add the meat back in, followed by crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and beef broth. I usually start with just 2 cups of broth, and add more, depending on how thick everything is. You want enough liquid so thing don’t burn while simmering.
When it comes to adding the spices, the beauty of chili is you don’t have to do it the same way twice – start with a little, and taste as you go along. Aside from the typical chili powder and paprika, I add a bit of unsweetened cocoa powder and a spoonful or two of sugar, to balance out the spice.
Once everything’s together I let it all simmer for at least an hour – checking frequently, and adding more broth if it starts thicken too much – don’t want it to scorch on the bottom of the pan. Or.. if you’ll be gone all day, you can toss this all in crock pot and let it go all day on low.
- 2.5 – 3 lbs venison OR ground beef
- 1 lb ground Jimmy Dean Sausage
- 12 oz mushrooms
- 2 bell peppers
- 1 large onion
- 4 cloves garlic
- 28 oz crushed tomatoes
- 6 oz tomato paste
- 8 oz tomato sauce
- 2 – 3 cups beef broth
- 3 – 6 tbsp chili powder (depending on desired level of spice)
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder (unsweetened)
- 2 spoonfuls sugar
- pickled jalapeño slices ((optional))
- shredded cheddar chees
- sour cream
- green onions
- avocado slices
Brown beef and sausage in a Dutch oven, draining the grease, and setting the meat it aside in a bowl.
Deglaze the pan with a little red wine or broth. Add a chopped onion and 4 cloves of garlic, and sauté – adding oil as necessary.
After onions are halfway cooked, add chopped bell peppers and mushrooms, and any jalapenos.
Sauté veggies on low, 5 minutes, until peppers have started to soften.
Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and 2 cups of beef broth.
Add spices, and stir everything well to combine.
If mixture is too thick, add ½ cup more of broth at a time.
Simmer for hour or more, stirring frequently, and adding liquid as necessary to prevent scorching.
Alternatively, all cooked ingredients can be put in a crockpot and left on low all day.