When fall is starting to cool the air and summer days get shorter and shorter, nothing sounds better to me than putting on a pot of chili and curling up with a good book, catching up on TV shows, or watching some football. I have tried many different flavors of chili and love to mix it up, but I have to say my go-to favorite these days for a hearty meat-based option is this Smoky Chipotle Chili. I can’t take complete credit for this recipe. At a previous company, a co-worker brought something similar to a chili cook-off. I never did get the full recipe but I recognized some flavors and decided to experiment on my own.
The key ingredient in this chili is the chipotle chili peppers. I may have first discovered these wonderful gems in a Tyler Florence fajita recipe. And now I use them liberally in Mexican food dishes. They have a very unique flavor, not a lot of heat, but smooth smokiness that can’t be beat. They are easy to find in the Mexican food aisle at your grocery and will be in a can labeled “Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce” by brands like Embasa or Goya. You only need a pepper or even half of one to infuse the dish with flavor, so I like to store the remaining contents of the can in a ziploc bag in the door of my freezer. Then you can just pull it out and snip or slice off a portion you need and toss into your recipe.
Another unusual contribution to the flavors in this chili might be the combo of meats I use. The first is chorizo sausage or andouille; the second is Bob Evans Savory Sage sausage, and the third is beef chili meat. I buy all my meat at Heinen’s and they have a great selection. The chorizo (more spicy) or andouille (less spicy) lends a decidedly Mexican influence to the chili and complements the chipotle peppers perfectly. The Savory Sage sausage limits the need for additional seasonings. And the chili meat rounds out the flavors and represents the cow in our, so far, pig-based chili!
Now for some heat. At this point, I will say that I like a little heat in my chili. If there’s too much, I think it takes away flavor and just burns out your mouth. But whenever I want a little heat, I throw in some Sriracha sauce (an Asian spicy sauce that is good on almost anything, right?!) or you could also use Tabasco. I will just put a few quirts of Sriracha in with the meat as I’m browning it. And with that, I then only use a teaspoon of chili powder, because I find that the sauce plus the chorizo or andouille adds a significant amount of heat for my taste. The only thing left is tomatoes, beans, and cumin – three integral ingredients in any chili!
Let this chili simmer on med-low on the stove minimum 30 minutes or all afternoon, and serve it with some cheese, sour cream, avocado, and/or tortilla chips. And maybe take a bowl back with you to the couch and finish what you were watching or reading. 🙂 Enjoy!
1 lb chorizo or andouille sausage
1 lb Bob Evans Savory Sage sausage
1 lb chili beef
Sriracha sauce to taste
2 cans black beans, rinsed/drained
2 cans mild chili beans
3-4 Adobo chili peppers, diced
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
14 oz can diced tomatoes
Brown the ground meat with a dash of sriracha, drain. Add the remaining ingredients, bring to a boil and simmer for at least 30 minutes.