Chili con MR

chilipeppersGuess what?  It's pretty hard to take or find a non-disgusting photo of chili.  As you can imagine, the dish does not photograph well.  I chose to display clean, non-gross chili peppers instead. Unbelievably, I never ate chili until nearly one year ago this month when MR made a delicious version for a cozy winter game night.  MR's chili was a huge hit with the group - it's packed with an immense amount of flavor, tons of beef (sorry veggies) and just enough kick.

MR recently gave me for Christmas the cookbook from which her chili recipe hails - The Bride and Groom First and Forever Cookbook (check it out here).  The gift was very thoughtful; MR, a semi-professional chef, always raves about this cookbook, and she knew I wanted it but was a little embarrassed to buy it (it's been a year and a half since Joe and I were a bride and groom).

The chili was the first recipe from the cookbook we attempted, and we devoured it.  It has definitely become a new winter staple in our house.

Texas Chili with all the Fixin's

1 tablespoon bacon grease or vegetable oil (bacon grease?  Ew) 2 medium yellow onions, chopped 3 tablespoons chopped garlic 3 tablespoons chili powder 2 tablespoons paprika 1 tablespoon cumin 2 teaspoons dried oregano 1 pound ground beef chuck (aka regular ground beef.  I had to ask MR what "beef chuck" was.) 1 pound Italian sausage links, removed from casings and crumbled (FYI: this step is super gross.  I made Joe do it.) 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed 2 cans (28 ounces each) crushed tomatoes with puree 1 can (15 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained 1 can (15 ounces) barbecued baked beans, drained 1 tablespoon minced canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, plus more as needed - Note: You can find canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (smoked jalapeños in a thick red sauce) in supermarkets and Latino specialty markets.

Fixin's Grated sharp cheddar cheese Chopped green onion Sour cream Crumbled corn chips (or an entire bag of Tostitos Scoops) Red pepper flakes Chopped jalapeño chiles

Heat the vegetable oil (because no one in her right mind would use bacon grease) in an 8-quart heavy-bottomed stockpot over medium heat.  Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 7 to 10 minutes.  Add the chili powder, paprika, cumin, and oregano and stir until the spices are well combined.  Add the ground beef, sausage, and 1 teaspoon of the kosher salt.  Increase the heat to medium-high and cook the meat, stirring frequently, until cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes.

Stir in the remaining ingredients.  Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour.  Adjust the seasonings with more kosher salt or chipotle chiles if necessary.  Serve with any or all of the suggested fixin's.

Note: MR gave a great tip - this recipe makes quite a large amount of chili so if you're serving it to only 2 people, freeze half of it in a tightly sealed Tupperware container.  We did that and we still had several days of the chili left.