It has been rainy, rainy, rainy and we have been cooped up inside for several days. But yesterday we had pumpkins to carve and the ingredients for chili, plus my husband had some pumpkin ale in the fridge and there was football on TV so he was pretty happy. Pretty much the makings for a perfect fall day. By noon we had put the chili in the slow cooker and made these:
And by we, I mean that I helped with the chili but was not at all involved in making the pumpkin masterpieces. That was all my husband and his brother - they are so creative! Did you know that gourds are not at all easy to carve like pumpkins? Yeah, neither did we. That green Frankenstein one was impossible to cut open. Good thing we had a saw.
So now to the recipe. This award winning chili recipe was created by my brother and sister-in-law and it is amazing. They are very kind to allow me to share it with you. I think it strikes the perfect balance between being nice and meaty, while still containing beans. When we serve it to people who don't normally like beans in chili, they are always impressed by how good it is!
Walt & April's Springtown Chili
This yields roughly 6 dinner-size servings of mild to medium chili. We have often found that this chili is better the day after cooking.
1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. pork sausage
1 large onion, medium chop
1 large green pepper, membrane and seeds removed, chopped
1 teaspoon oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 16 oz. can black beans, mostly drained
1 15 oz. can pinto beans, mostly drained
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 ancho (dried poblano) chili, de-seeded and chopped
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 dash Worcestershire sauce
1 dash habanero hot sauce
Brown ground beef over medium-high heat, waiting to break up the meat so that most pieces sear on the outside. Drain, then repeat with sausage. Saute onion and green pepper over high heat in 1 teaspoon oil (if needed), until slightly brown.
Combine all ingredients except the beans in the slow cooker and stir to combine. Then add the beans and gently stir until they are roughly mixed in. Cover and turn heat to high for 1 hour. Reduce heat to low and cook for 9 or so hours. If your slow cooker runs hot like mine, you can get away with cooking it for 8 hours on low the entire time. For a spicier chili, double the chili powder or add a couple tablespoons of your favorite hot sauce.
We like to top it with chopped avocado, raw diced onion, and maybe some tortilla chips.
My son likes it with daiya shredded "cheese":
A note about ingredients:
When this recipe was originally developed, it called for a tube of Jimmy Dean pork sausage. It probably tastes the best if you use that but I don't cook with conventionally raised meat anymore. So I've been using Italian pork sausage from Whole Foods and I think it still turns out pretty great.
I also try whenever possible to avoid using canned goods so I often substitute 4 cups of homecooked beans for the two cans of beans. The tomatoes are tougher to substitute but I recently found some in glass jars that are not diced but seem to work ok with this recipe.