This chili is the recipe I get asked for most often. Probably because it’s my go-to fall/winter entertaining meal, and anyone who’s been to my house between November and February gets a big bowl of chili. I really should come up with some new meals, but it’s hard to when this is such a crowd-pleaser. It’s spicy and hearty, and can be made well in advance, so it’s a real time-saver the day of the party. We like our chili spicy, so this is up there on the heat meter. The best part is that you can easily customize the level of heat to your liking; so I’ll share my recipe with you, and then you go ahead and make it your own.
Confession time: I’m a recovering picky eater. I still have my hangups, but I’m making great strides in the right direction. I wouldn’t go anywhere within a five foot radius of a solitary bean until my second pregnancy. Thank goodness pregnancy hormones changed my feelings about beans, because I would have really missed out if I never got to experience this chili due to a prejudice against beans.
So grab the recipe below and get cooking! I know the ingredient list is overwhelming, but it’s absolutely worth it. This is one of those recipes where you can add just about anything you want and it will taste incredible. Trust me––you’re going to want to start buying chili powder in bulk, because this won’t be the last time you make this recipe.
I like to freeze half of the leftovers and save them for busy winter days. Simply let the chili cool a bit, ladle it into a gallon-sized ziploc bag and put it in the freezer. It’ll keep for at least a month. When you’re ready for a second round, just leave the bag in the fridge overnight, and pour the chili in the crock pot in the morning. You’ll have a nice, hot meal ready when you get home, and no mess to clean up!
If you like your chili on the mild side, you can swap out the spicy Italian sausage for mild sausage; change the serranos peppers to a single jalapeño, and adjust the cayenne and tabasco as well. If you get your chili too spicy, add a bit more white sugar to sweeten the spice.
This chili is great served alone, with baked potatoes, over rice, or on hot dogs…or pretty much anywhere else you want to put it. Serve it up with an array of garnishes: bacon bits, cheese, sour cream avocado slices, green onions, corn chips, etc.
For parties, I like to serve it in these great corrugated hot bowls with colorful wooden utensils. The bowls come with lids, so your guests can easily transport some leftovers home. You can find the bowls at many restaurant supply stores, and I got the utensils from Sucre Shop on Etsy. We’ve got snow in the forecast this week, so this is a good recipe to keep handy for those cold days ahead. Happy cooking!
- 2 pounds lean ground beef
- 1 pound spicy Italian sausage
- 2 (15 ounce) cans chilli beans, drained
- 2 (15 ounce) cans chili beans in spicy sauce
- 2 (28 ounce) cans diced tomatoes with juice
- 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 2 serrano chile peppers, seeded and finely diced
- 2 tablespoons bacon bits
- 4 cubes beef bouillon
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup chili powder
- 1 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 1/2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon white sugar
- sour cream
- corn chips
- Heat a LARGE stock pot over medium-high heat. Crumble the ground beef and sausage into the hot pot and cook until evenly browned. Drain off grease.
- Pour in the chili beans, spicy chili beans, diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Add the onion, green and red peppers, chile peppers, bacon bits, bouillon and water. Add the chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, oregano, cumin, Tabasco, cayenne, basil, salt, pepper, paprika and sugar. Sitr to blend, then cover and simmer over low heat for at least two hours, stirring occasionally.
- After two hours, taste, and adjust the seasoning to taste. (Add more salt, pepper, chili powder, cayenne, etc.) until desired flavor is achieved.
- Remove from heat and serve; or refrigerate and serve the next day.
- Note: The longer the chili simmers, the better it will taste. Add water or beef broth to adjust consistency.
- To make ahead: Follow the recipe as outlined above, then store the chili in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The flavors will continue to blend overnight. When ready to re-heat, add to crock pot or stock pot and heat through.
- Freezer instructions: Make the chili, cool slightly, and ladle it into gallon-size freezer bags. Freeze for up to a month. When ready to re-heat, leave bag in refrigerator overnight, then pour chili into crock pot or large stock pot and heat through. Adjust spice level and add water if necessary.