When I was a finalist at the Branson Taste of Home Great American Pie Bake-off, Al Roker, one of the judges, gave all of us a signed copy of his barbecue cookbook. In it were several chili recipes, one of which was his. I doctored it up quite a bit because I like a chili with complex flavors, and his recipe seemed very one dimensional. I doctored it so much that I can no longer call it by his name.
The flavor of this chili is great – it’s everything I would ever want in a chili. But, after eating it, Guy and I both agreed that we prefer ground meats in our chili, rather than cubes of chuck steak. Our senior jaws and teeth prefer as little chewing as possible. It didn’t stop us from eating it though, because this is some good chili. There’s just enough heat, and it comes in waves so that you don’t get it all at once. The hot Italian sausage and Hatch chili peppers seem to take turns delighting your tongue with their presence. Next time I make this, however, it will be with ground beef.
|Spicy Chuck Steak-Italian Sausage Chili |
Inspired by Al Roker’s Chili
Rating: 9.5 out of 10
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2 lbs. chuck steak, cubed in bite-size pieces (or 2 lbs. ground chuck)
1 lb. hot Italian sausage, casings removed, crumbled
2 large onions, diced
12 cloves garlic, grated or diced
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. paprika (not smoked)
1 tsp. Mexican oregano, crushed
3/4 cup chopped fire-roasted chiles (I used fresh Hatch chile peppers that I roasted on the grill.)
2 (8-oz.) cans Hunt’s tomato sauce
6 oz. low-sodium beef broth
6 oz. low-sodium chicken broth
6 oz. beer
1 Tbsp. finely ground cornmeal
about 1/2 oz. dark chocolate
1 (15-oz.) can pinto beans
1 (15-oz.) can Northern beans
1 (15-oz.) can dark red kidney beans
Toppings: chopped scallions, sour cream, shredded Cheddar cheese
Brown beef and sausage in a large Dutch oven. Do this in batches so as not to crowd the meat.
Transfer meat to bowl; set aside. Drain fat, reserving about 2 Tbsp. Saute onions and garlic in reserved fat till transparent, about 7 minutes. Add cumin, paprika and oregano; stir and cook about 1 minute, then add fire-roasted chiles, tomato sauce, broths, beer, cornmeal and chocolate. Stir meat back in. Bring to a boil, stir thoroughly, reduce heat to a simmer and cook about 1-1/2 hours.
Add the beans and simmer gently for another 30 minutes.
Serve with toppings listed above. Cornbread is also a great accompaniment. Yield: about 12 servings