Thursday, January 6, 2011

Chili for a Crowd

The best part of winter may very well be the snow and Mr. Jack Frost for some, however living in South Carolina, I have to settle for another benefit that the cold weather summons-- soup!

These next few posts will display some of my favorite soup recipes—both old and new. Drawing on one from my past, which has been tested in quite a few chili cook-offs, I would like to present a new recipe that combats the stigma associated with ordinary chili.

Chili for a Crowd
(Adapted from the Silver Palette)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound yellow onions coarsely chopped
1 pound sweet Italian sausage removed from casings
4 pounds beef chuck ground
1 can tomato paste (12 oz)
1 ½ tablespoons minced garlic
1/3 cup ground cumin
½ cup chili powder
¼ cup Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons dried basil
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 ½ tablespoons of salt and pepper each or to taste
3 cans Italian plum tomatoes (28 oz ea) drained
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
¼ cup chopped fresh dill
¼ cup chopped parsley
2 cans dark-red kidney beans (16 oz ea) drained
2 cans pitted black olives (5 1/2 oz ea) drained
1 can yellow corn (Optional)

HEAT the olive oil in a very large pot. Add the onions and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 15 minutes. Add the sausage meat and ground chuck; cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until the meats are well browned. Spoon off any excess fat and discard.

STIR in the tomato paste, garlic, cumin, chili powder, mustard, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes, wine, lemon juice, dill, parsley and kidney beans. Stir well and simmer, uncovered, for another 15 minutes.

TASTE and adjust seasonings. Add olives (corn optional); simmer for 5 minutes more to heat through. Serve immediately.

GARNISH with sour cream, sharp cheddar cheese, and green onion.

NOTE: This recipe yields 20 servings. Freezes well. Venison can be substituted, however more kick & spice should be added to combat the extreme lean flavor of the meat.

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