Matthew’s Chili

Ingredients

Lean Ground Beef (1-1.5 lbs)
Ground Sweet Italian Sausage (1-1.5 lbs)
Sweet Green Bell Pepper (1)
Large Yellow Onion (1)
Large Red Onion (1)
Stewed Fire Roasted Tomatoes (1 28 oz can)
Dark Red Kidney Beans (1 14.5 oz can)
Tomato Sauce (1 8 oz can)
Guinness Stout (1 bottle)
Worcestershire Sauce
Minced Garlic (4 cloves)
Celtic Sea Salt
Coarse Black Pepper
Crushed Basil
Ground Cinnamon
Chili Powder
Paprika
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

The Recipe

Everyone has an opinion about Chili.

Years ago, Kate and I lived in Mobile, Alabama…a wonderful little city on the banks of Mobile Bay. Every year, in the heart of downtown, the City of Mobile would host an annual Chili cook-off. For the small price of a ticket, you could enter the festival area and sample Chilis of varying flavors and styles, made by some of the best amateur and professional chefs in the area.

I loved it.

I also learned some valuable lessons…the most important of which is the Chili is intensely personal. Everyone has a preferred set of flavors and ingredients, the varying combination of which produce intensely different flavors that are as individualized as the people who prepare them.

This recipe has evolved over time, and represents a combination of flavors that I dearly love. I can’t wait to share some of it’s secrets with you.

Here we go…

Drizzle a small amount of Extra Virgin Olive Oil in the bottom of a cast-iron dutch oven, or large stock pot. In addition to greasing the pot, the Olive Oil will give some great flavor to the meat as it begins to brown.

Place the ground beef and sweet Italian sausage into the dutch oven and begin to brown on medium-high heat. About 7-9 minutes, or until the meat begins to brown.

Add diced yellow and red onions, diced sweet green bell pepper, and minced garlic to the browned meat and reduced heat to low (high simmer does the job better if you have the option; if not, low will suffice). Simmer for about 5 minutes to allow the flavors time to intermingle.

Add a generous pour of Worcestershire Sauce (that is…actually…how it’s spelled. You’re welcome.), followed by the entire bottle of Guinness Stout. Follow with stewed tomatoes, Dark Red Kidney Beans, and tomato sauce. Leave the heat setting to either a low, or high simmer.

Once the chili begins to simmer (it will take a moment after the influx of cool ingredients) add Celtic Sea Salt, coarse black pepper, crushed basil, chili powder, cinnamon, and paprika. It is important to add your spices to taste, something that you will better develop a feel for the more frequently that you do so…and the more frequently that you prepare the same dish. Because I prefer a hot chili, I tend to add more chili powder, along with diced jalapenos (seeds included) when I make chili for myself. When preparing a batch for other people, less chili powder and fewer to no jalapenos are the order of the day.

Let it simmer, for however much time you have. I find that the flavors in this recipe mix well during the beginning of the process, so after about thirty minutes of simmering the taste profile is excellent. Of course, the longer that you allow it to simmer, the better it will taste.

Add a crusty bread and serve together with grated Longhorn cheese.

Pro Tip: If you’e read this far…trying adding 1/2 a bar of Hershey’s Chocolate and a cup of coffee next time you prepare this…you’re welcome. 🙂

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