Sunday, September 14, 2008

Renée's Football Sunday Chili

Sunday Football in our house is a big deal, especially when the NY Giants are playing. This past Sunday it was kind of a cooler NY September day, not like the extended summer we have been having. The perfect day to watch some football, hang out with our friends and make some spicy chili. I did not use a recipe for this, I made it up, but I will tell you how I made it. It came out perfect.

In your crock pot (I think mine is 6 or 7 qts) combine, 2 large cans of crushed tomatoes, 1 chopped red bell pepper, 2 lbs of cooked ground beef, 1 lb of cooked Italian sausage, 1 can of corn, and 1 bunch of scallions chopped, green and light green parts only. Add 1 cup of water and mix it all together. Then I added the spices: chili powder, cumin, red pepper flakes, garlic, onion powder, paprika, oregano, thyme, sea salt, black pepper, Cayenne pepper. For everything except the salt and Cayenne pepper, I used the "cover the top" method of seasoning. This is how my Great-Grandmother taught my Mom how to add spices. She doesn't measure, she just coats the top of whatever it is she is putting spices in until you can't see what's underneath. It's definitely not an exact science so I would suggest tasting often to see if you want to add more of something. For the salt I added two big pinches and for the Cayenne pepper I just sort of sprinkled it on top. Cayenne is very hot and can easily overpower the rest of the spices, so use a light hand with it, you can always add a little more.

NOTE: I used onion powder because our friend Anthony does not like onions. If he sees them in his food he will typically not eat whatever it is. He told me that he wasn't a big chili fan and I didn't want to push my luck by adding big onion chunks. Feel free to skip the powder and add real onions. I may try grating the onions next time. I would use 1 medium Spanish onion for this dish.

I added four rounded tablespoons of sugar at this point. The sugar helps balance the acidity of the tomatoes.

I had the crock pot on high for two hours and then turned it to low until we were ready to eat. Since the meat is already cooked, you are really just waiting for it to heat up and let all of the flavors come together.

You can top yours with whatever you'd like. I prefer shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream.

Things you might like to add to your chili: black beans, kidney beans, different peppers, salsa, veggies that hold up well when cooked for a long time such as eggplant, zucchini and mushrooms, chicken.

Next time I make this I am going to try removing the casings from the sausages or buying crumbled sausage. The sausages were delicious and I wanted to have more sausage flavor in each bite instead of once or twice in a bowl (I had 8 sausages which I cut into quarters before I cooked them).

P.S. The Giants won :)

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