Corn and Kielbasa Chili

Are you tired of using that same old chili recipe? As much as I love my classic chili recipes, typically made with ground beef, it is nice to change it up with something out of the ordinary. In fact, something extraordinary happened in my kitchen this Monday when I whipped up a stew now referred to as Corn and Kielbasa Chili. My initial concept for this dinner was not meant to become chili-like but this is how great recipes are born-by accident.

The concept originated with the giant bag of frozen corn ears leftover from our CSA summer farm share. If you are like me with summer corn in the freezer that needs to be used, then this is a great way to go. The other ingredients I had on hand were the basic items like beef and chicken broth, spices, Rotel (canned tomatoes and chiles), onion and red pepper. I picked up a fresh link of uncooked pork kielbasa from Whole Foods.

This dish came together quickly-simmering away on the stove while my husband and I enjoyed a mild fall evening in Philadelphia after a long weekend away. Along with fresh bread and butter, we indulged in this hearty stew, which is sure to please anyone who enjoys chili and a bit of spice.

Corn and Kielbasa Chili


2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Dash crushed red pepper

1 medium onion
, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
Sea salt Freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves
, grated
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp paprika

Pinch of cayenne

2 large ears of corn, corn removed from cob
*Hold corn on its end and gently use a knife to scrape off all corn kernels.
3 tbsp tomato paste
2 cups beef stock or broth

2 cups chicken stock or broth

1 can RO*TEL (canned tomatoes and green chiles)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tbsp liquid smoke
4 shakes of Cholula hot sauce or Tabasco

1/2 lb Kielbasa or Chorizo
*If sausage is not cooked, then simply place in stew once all other ingredients are in the pot and allow to cook all the way through. Remove from stew and let is rest for a 3 minutes. Peel away casing and dice up the sausage. Return the chopped sausage to the stew to continue cooking. If you use cooked or smoked sausage, then simply chop sausage and add to the soup at the same time as the corn.


1. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil at the bottom of a large pot over medium heat. Add a dash of crushed red pepper and allow to heat through for 30 seconds.

2. Add onions, red pepper, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mix ingredients and cook for 5 minutes.

3. Add garlic, chili powder, cumin, paprika and cayenne. Mix well and cook for another two minutes.

4. Place corn and tomato paste into the pot. Stir well and cook for 3 minutes.

5. Next, add all liquids to the pot (beef and chicken broth, RO*TEL, red wine vinegar, liquid smoke and hot sauce). Mix the stew together well. Cover with lid and simmer on low for 5 minutes.

6. Add uncooked sausage link and continue to simmer with the lid on until sausage is firm and cooked through, approximately 12 minutes.

7. Remove sausage from pot and let it rest for a couple of minutes. Remove the casing and chop the Kielbasa. Place the chopped Kielbasa back in the stew. Continue simmering on low for 10-15 minutes.

Enjoy this Corn and Kielbasa Chili on a cool, crisp fall evening. Serve with crusty bread or cornbread and butter. Go vegetarian by omitting the sausage and using a vegetable based stock or broth and extra veggies. Chorizo, shredded chicken or smoked sausage would be excellent substitutes for Kielbasa. For seafood lovers, replace the sausage with jumbo shrimp and mussels toward the end of the cooking time. No matter how you do it, you will love the warmth and spice that this dish will bring you and your family.

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