Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Chili filled to the brim with meat & beans

Chili did not seem like something I would ever want to make a few years ago... but now that we've made more than a couple versions, I love all the directions you can take with it. It is a dish that can easily be adapted to your own personal taste - you could go the veggie route, opt for a less time consuming version or make one packed full of homemade sausage, as we made tonight.

Tonight's dinner, Mexican Black Bean Sausage Chili, has quite a bit of prep and cooking time involved so it does need some pre-planning. The day before, a lighter homemade sausage mixture of ground pork, ground turkey, garlic, red wine, vinegar, paprika, ancho chili powder, cumin, oregano and coriander is combined and left to chill overnight in the refrigerator. This sausage mixture is then browned in a bit of oil, followed by onions, smoky cumin, fresh garlic, oregano and spicy chipotle chiles. Once the onions have softened, the sausage is beefed up with black beans, chicken broth and fire roasted diced tomatoes. So the chili has some body to it, a cup and a half of the beans are pureed with some broth until smooth and also added at this point. The original recipe calls for draining the tomatoes, but then adding in 3 cups of water - why waste liquid gold? I just added the juice with the tomatoes and added about 3/4 cup water instead - the mixture seemed a bit thin, but after 45 minutes of simmering partially covered, it thickened right up to a consistency we both thought was good. Not soupy, but not stand-your-spoon up thick either. Right before serving, the mixture is jolted with a fresh tangy bite from just-squeezed lime juice and a bit of cilantro. Three chipotle chilies brought just the right amount of heat for us... however, we like things spicy, so you may want to reduce to one or two if you like things more mild. You could garnish with cheese, sour cream or whatever you may normally throw on top, but the homemade sausage pumps in so much flavor we did not feel it necessary.


  1. I just stumbled upon your blog and I am loving it!! You are doing a great job, and the photos are fantastic. Keep up the great work.

  2. Joe, I just love your blog!

    Your dishes inspire me! Now I know what I want for dinner! That chili looks os good!
    Love your photos. You also inspired me to start my own food blog.

  3. *
    Hi Joe!
    I found your blog by random and wanted to leave a comment on a fantastic site and idea! The food looks GREAT!!!

    QUESTION of the DAY!

  4. Anonymous - Thanks!

    Yum - Glad to hear you started your own blog! Isn't it fun?

    Thanks Michael!

  5. The chili was just fabulous, Joe. Marinating the raw meat in spices is an interesting idea - I wonder if it would taste any differently if you just added the spices in when it was all cooked; not that I'd try it - I liked this method. And I liked the gravy it made, so the chili wasn't thin, like many seem to be. I added a dollop of sour cream to the top when I served it, with a side of an English muffin topped with melted cheddar cheese. Just scrumptious. Thanks.

  6. Carolyn - Oh, I like your side idea! I agree - I will have to make more of the homemade sausage. It was really good!