I have always wanted to love chili. Something about the color, blend of textures, variety of flavors, and the way it warms my tummy on a “cold” winter day (cold being relative since we live in San Diego) makes me want to crave it all of the time, but I don’t. That’s because I’ve never been able to take my liking of chili to the level of love . . . until last weekend.
On Saturday I attended a women’s conference at my church. It was a chilly, rainy day that screamed for some type of soup. Finding spicy ground sausage in our freezer, I decided that chili would be the soup du jour. Throwing the ingredients together in my well-worn Crock Pot, I left it to contemplate its existence for a few hours while I was gone.
Upon returning at three that afternoon, I was greeted by the best part of using a Crock Pot – the smell of chili hanging in the air. I managed to resist the temptation to try it until later that evening. My husband Dale only lasted until about noon that day.
3 lbs. ground sausage (I used 2 lbs. spicy pork sausage and 1 lb. spicy chicken sausage)
1 large red onion cut into about 1” long by .5” wide pieces
1 15 oz. can chili beans (don’t drain the liquid)
1 15 oz. can pinto beans drained and rinsed
1 15 oz. can black beans drained and rinsed
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1 15 oz. can stewed tomatoes
15 oz. chunky salsa (I just filled the tomato sauce can with salsa)
2.5 Tbsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. cumin
1 tsp. ground pepper
2 Tbsp. Chipotle Tabasco (optional for some nice heat and a smoky flavor)
1 tsp. pepper flakes (optional for heat)
Cook the meat in a pan with the onion. Drain the grease. You can use paper towels to remove additional grease by laying a few paper towels in the bottom of a large bowl. Then put the meat in the bowl and press down on it gently with additional paper towels.
Combine all of the ingredients in a Crock Pot and stir. Put the lid on and turn it on low. Let the chili cook for about 5 hours. The great thing about Crock Pots, though, is that you can leave the chili for longer and it won’t hurt it. I let ours cook on low for 9 hours and then turned it off and let it sit for 2 hours before eating it. It was still piping hot when I ladled it into bowls.
I suggest serving the chili with chopped green onion, shredded cheese (we used cheddar), and a dollop of low fat sour cream.
Are you in love with chili? What’s the best chili you’ve ever tasted?