Yesterday our lovely little block in the Fairmount neighborhood of Philadelphia had its own Chili Cook-Off. It was a lovely fall day, the perfect kind for cooking and eating chili. My husband and I both submitted chilis along with five other competitors on the block. This was my chance to recreate the chili recipe I made in 2008, when I won my mother-in-law's annual "Chili Bowl". On a regular basis, we prefer to make healthier chili recipes using ground turkey or lean beef but every now and then you have to pull out all the stops. I hold back nothing in this Meat Lovers Chili, giving you flavor sensations ranging from salty and sweet to smokey and spicy. Try this crowd-pleasing recipe for your next big gathering!
Lizzy M.'s Meat Lovers Chili
1/2 lb bacon, diced (Dice bacon after it has been cooked and cooled.)
1/2 lb mild Italian sausage
1 lb. ground pork
1 lb. ground beef (chuck or sirloin)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1-16 oz. can crushed tomato
1 can tomato paste
1 bottle Chocolate Stout
1/8 cup molasses
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2-3 tbsp Adobo sauce (Add 2 tbsp to start and add the third if you want more of a kick.)
2 chipotle peppers in Adobo sauce, diced
2 yellow onions, diced
4 cloves garlic, grated or minced
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
3 tbsp cumin
3 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
*Combine these dry seasonings together to make your spice mixture. Divide into 3 portions. This will make it easy to add the spice "dumps" when it is time.
1. Saute the bacon in a large skillet on medium heat until the fat cooks out. Remove bacon onto paper towels and set aside. Keep a portion of bacon grease in the pan.
2. Remove Italian sausage from the skin and crumble into the skillet. Brown the sausage in the bacon grease and break up with a wooden spoon. Saute for about 7-10 minutes.
3. In a large chili pot over medium heat, brown the ground pork and ground beef. Salt and pepper the meat while breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon. Add 1/3 or the first "dump" of seasoning at this time. Saute until the spices are combined with the meat. At this time add the crushed tomatoes, chocolate stout, Adobo sauce and the chipotle peppers. Keep on medium heat covered.
4. Add cooked bacon and sausage to chili pot. In skillet saute onions in bacon and sausage drippings on medium heat for about 5-7 minutes. Then add tomato paste to the skillet and saute until the paste is combined well with the onions. With a grater, grate in the garlic cloves. Stir well and saute for another 3 minutes. Finally add the vinegar. With a wooden spoon scrape up the bits and drippings on the pan and then cook for another 3 minutes.
5. Add the onion mixture into the chili pot and the second 1/3 "dump" of the spice mixture. Cook the chili on low heat covered for 3 hours stirring occasionally.
6. Remove from the heat after cooking for about 3 hours. Let the chili come to room temperature. Store chili in the fridge overnight.
7. Set the chili out to bring back to room temperature before putting over heat. Once it is at room temperature or close to it, then place on low to medium heat. At this time add the final 1/3 or third "dump" of the spice mixture and cook for at least 2 hours before serving.
Although I did not take home the bragging rights of a first place chili this time around, I came in at a close second with lots of happy tasters. Serve with tortilla chips and the toppings of your choice such as shredded cheese and sour cream. Dig in!