The weather has started to turn and my thoughts drift towards big pots of tummy warming goodness. This is my favorite cooking time of the year. One pot wonders, soups, stews and chili that sit on the stove smelling so delicious. This is just one version of Beef Chili that I make. Sometimes I use a hunk-o Chuck (blade is cheaper) roast and butcher it down myself (that’s cheaper too) to small bite sized pieces to make this same recipe.
It’s the Portuguese Sausage or Linguica that really makes it though. If you can’t find it in your neck of the woods, try Italian Sausage for a Buterro Chili.
Paniolo (that’s Hawaiian for Cowboy) Chili
1 lb. Ground Beef
1 lb. Portuguese Sausage or Linguica, diced small
4 strips of Bacon, chopped fine
1 medium Onion, rough chopped
4 Garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. Chili Powder
1 tsp. Cumin Seeds, toasted and ground
1 tsp. Coriander Seeds, toasted and ground
1 tsp. Smoked Paprika
1 tsp. dark instant Coffee or Espresso (we like Starbucks Via)
1 tsp. Oregano
1/8 tsp. ground Chipotle Chile Pepper
2 15oz. cans diced Tomatoes
1 Tbsp. Brown Sugar (light or dark is fine)
¼ C. Hatch Chiles, chopped (any green chile will do)
2 C. Beef broth
¼ C. dark Beer (any brand you would drink)
S&P to taste
1-2 Tbsp. Corn Muffin Mix (I like Jiffy brand, it’s cheap and friendly)
Heat a large pot over medium-high, cook the bacon until just crisp and transfer to a paper lined plate and pour off the rendered fat, keep it though.
Spoon 1 tablespoon of the drippings back into the pot and brown the beef well; transfer to a bowl. Sauté the sausage until colored, it’s a smoked sausage, so it doesn’t take as long to cook as pork sausages. Transfer the sausage to the bowl with the beef; drain off the fat and discard. Take a paper towel or two and wipe out the pot.
Add in another tablespoon or two of that beautiful bacon grease to the pot and cook the onions until they are about to brown around the edges. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant. Sprinkle the dried herbs and spices over the onions, stirring for about a minute.
Puree one of the cans of Tomatoes in the blender, food processor or with a handheld stick blender (immersion blender, that’s what I have).
Put the meats back into the pot along with the remaining ingredients, excluding the corn muffin mix, that’s for later. Cover and bring to good bubble; reduce the heat to a simmer, cover partially and let it go for about an hour.
Let’s talk about beans. Some folks don’t care for them, me, I love them. Especially if they are cooked from dried beans and added in at the last 20 minutes of cooking. I find canned beans too mushy and that’s what I think turns people off to beans in general, like my DH. I add about 1-2 cups of cooked Red Kidney beans to this pot of chili and he gobbles it up.
But back to the chili.
At this point you need to decide if you want your chili thicker or not. We like ours on the thick-ish side, so I took a trick from Cook’s Country.
Spoon out about a quarter of a cup of the hot liquid to a small bowl with 1 tablespoon of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix; stir until smooth and add to the pot that you have brought back to a rolling boil. Stir for a few minutes to incorporate and begin the thickening process. If you want an even thicker batch, repeat this step. Taste for seasoning, S&P probably, it depends, that’s why I hold that til the end.
Like most soups, stews and chilis, they are much better if allowed to sit in the `fridge for a day or two. We like to eat chili with steamed white rice, chopped raw sweet onion and grated cheddar cheese on top.
*Tip: I keep that box of Jiffy Corn Muffin mix in a zip-top bag in the refrigerator for later use. And if you’re not a beer drinker and need just one bottle of beer, try Trader Joe’s. Buy one that has a screw off-on bottle cap and keep it in the `fridge too, it won’t go bad. It doesn’t matter that the beer goes flat, it’s just for the flavor.