Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The importance of chili and life

Thanksgiving is over, the fridge is full of leftovers, and what do J and I make for dinner Sunday night? Chili! That's right, a big, spicy bowl of red. Although technically a purist will tell me that because my chili has beans, it cannot be called a bowl of red, or even chili, but that's not my point here. My point here is that preparation is critical when preparing a meal.

Case in point, my Sunday night chili. I started preparing for the chili late in the day and felt rushed to get the pot started. I did not prepare my mise-en-place as I normally do for my chili. I thought I would chop and drop to speed things along, but this, as I would soon learn, was a bad idea. My chili recipe calls for ground beef and hot Italian sausage to be browned over medium-high heat with onion, green pepper, jalapeno, poblano and garlic. Because I could feel the clock ticking, I chopped up the onions and peppers and dropped them into the pot with the beef and sausage, but totally forgot to mince up the garlic. So now I felt even more rushed. I crushed and peeled eight cloves of garlic and as I was mincing them, I sliced right through the end of my thumb and the nail! Normally I have very good knife technique, tucking my thumb behind my fingers, but I lost focus...@$#*%! Fortunately I didn't slice the tip of my thumb off; I quickly applied pressure with a clean paper towel, finished the garlic with one hand, dropped it into the pot, and went to get some bandaids. At this point, my mood sank through the floor. I was pissed, and worried about my chili. I still had to open the cans of crushed tomatoes and beans, and arghh!!! I was so mad.

I finally got my head about me and finished the chili preparation, leaving the pot to simmer on the stove for an hour covered and half hour uncovered. But no!!! I forgot my chili secret ingredient, chipotle peppers and the adobo sauce they are sold in. These spicy peppers add extra heat and lots of extra flavor with their spicy, smokey goodness - chipotle peppers are smoked jalapenos and are usually sold in a can packed with adobo, a spicy tomato-based sauce.

My injury should be a lesson to all of you in preparation. When cooking something that requires ingredients to be added in stages, be sure to do most of your prep work BEFORE beginning the first stage. The chili came out great, my thumb is recovering nicely, and here is my famous chili recipe, enjoy!

Patriot Chili


* 1 1/2 pounds ground sirloin
* 12 ounces hot Italian turkey sausage
* 1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
* 1 green bell pepper, chopped (about 1 cup)
* 1 poblano pepper, chopped
* 2 jalapenos, diced
* 8 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 tablespoon chili powder
* 1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
* 1 tablespoon ground cumin
* 1 teaspoon dried oregano
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 2 bay leaves
* 3 tablespoons tomato paste
* 3-4 canned chipotle peppers, chopped, with adobo sauce
* 1 1/4 cups fruity red wine, I use Zinfandel
* 2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
* 2 (15-ounce) cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained


Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Remove casings from sausage and add to the pot with the ground sirloin, onion, peppers, and garlic; cook until sausage and beef are browned, stirring to crumble, about 8-10 minutes

Add the chili powders, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper, bay leaves, tomato paste and chipotles and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in the wine, tomatoes, and kidney beans and bring to a boil. Put the cover on the pot and reduce the heat, simmer covered for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Uncover and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. I recommend using a spatter guard unless you want your stove and counter top covered in little chili bombs.

I like to serve my chili with some shredded cheese, a little dollop of sour cream, and a handful of tortilla chips. Add extra hot sauce at your own discretion, I like my chili smokin' hot!

Note: Like most chilis, this version tastes even better the next day.


  1. Thanks for the recipe—and the lesson! I love chili, and I can't wait to try your Patriot Chili.

  2. Ok I am trying this one. I love trying new chili recipes.

  3. Hi Eric, enjoy it, this one's a keeper!

    Hi Dawn, like I said to Eric, this one is a keeper! Enjoy it!

    Hi Jennifer, thanks! It tasted great too!

  4. Great stuff! I've been looking for a good recipe for chili. I used to have a vegetarian one from college but i have no clue what it is anymore. When I try this, I'll letcha ya know. Glad to have found each other. Come back now! :)

    Bren @

  5. Hi Bren, this is one chili recipe that you're going to want to hang on to, it's outstanding! The turkey sausage definitely takes it to another level, along with the chipotles. I'm looking forward to following along on your blog, good stuff!