Last night we had our annual bonfire at Charles' and Maggie's house. It was a lot of fun, even though it was really really cold. But, there was a fire, so I huddled close to it. Maggie and Charles were recently part of a different small group, so we had new people at our bonfire and that was a lot of fun too! I made the chili and got lots of compliments on it. This was surprising since I'd never made it this way before, but I made it this way to try to make it so that more people would like it. I have, in the past, always made my chili with only like 1-2 pounds of meat in a huge pot of chili with beans (always pinto) and lots of tomatoes. And it generally isn't very spicy because of my acid reflux and the fact that when I used to put in a can of Rotel, Scott mentioned it was too spicy. But, he seems to have taken on a higher threshold for spiciness in the years since we were first married, so I took a chance and he seemed pleased. I wanted to publish my "recipe" since I still had the cans I used yesterday sitting on the counter since I'd rinsed them and let them dry for recycling.
I made two big crock pots full - the "regular" round size (I think it's 4 quarts) and the big oval one (I think that one is 6 quarts). I tried to put about the same proportion of everything in each pot, so here is two big pots' worth of ingredients:
-3 boxes of the 2 Alarm Chili Kit mixes (do not add the masa flour and the red pepper until later)
-4 lbs ground chuck, browned and drained (we drained it into a collander sitting in a bowl and then pressed it with a paper towel)
-2 lbs reduced fat breakfast sausage, browned and drained
-3 cans tomato sauce
-3 cans plain diced tomatoes
-1 can diced tomatoes w/ green peppers & onions
-2 cans rotel (one was the regular Rotel brand, one was the fire-roasted Kroger version)
-2 small cans tomato paste
-2 cans fire-roasted tomatoes w/ garlic
-1 can fire-roasted tomatoes
Scott browned and drained the meat for me. I split it between the crock pots. I added one mix to each crock pot excluding the masa flour and the red pepper. I then added all the tomato products above. I put the lid on an let it cook on high for 30 minutes, as directed on the box. I went back and tasted and thought it could use some more heat, so I split 1 of the envelopes of red pepper between the 2 pots and to thicken it, I mixed one envelope of the masa flour with 1/4 c warm water in each pot (2 total). I let them cook for maybe 15 more minutes on high then turned them down to low while we went out to lunch, so maybe an hour and a half-ish. When we got home, the house smelled like chili, but when I stirred it up and tasted, it didn't really taste like chili. It tasted like meat and tomatoes. Sad. So, I split my last chili kit between the two pots, excluding the masa flour and the red pepper. I thought they were thick enough and I knew from experience that chili gets hotter with time, so I didn't want to overdo the spice. They probably cooked on low for another hour to an hour and a half before we packed them up to take to Charles' and Maggie's house. Of course, they didn't have to cook for that long and would have cooked faster on the stove. However, if you make chili "quickly" and you intend to have leftovers for the next few days or to freeze, keep in mind that the reheated version will always be spicier.
Sorry that was so long. But, chili is a food of love. It takes a while. I rarely ever make it the same way twice because I can rarely remember. If I was making this for just Scott and me, I would put in beans. I have also made chili with ground turkey breast and it is just as good. I would have used turkey sausage if I could find anything but those breakfast links, which are a pain to break up and they are more expensive. Happy cooking!
5 hours ago