There’s a tradition in our family during the fall and winter months, where we all gather down at my grandma’s house and eat chili. I am in charge of bringing the chili, and everybody else brings the “fixin’s”.
What are fixin’s?
Well, that depends on whom you ask. Some people love chili with extra beans and onions. Some love to build cheesy chili macs with a little elbow macaroni action. Personally, I build my bowl from the ground up–crumbled corn bread at the bottom, topped with a layer of cheddar cheese, followed by chili (to melt the cheese), crunchy diced onion and a cool dollop of sour cream.
If I were a better mathematician, I could figure out the number of different fixin’ configurations, but let’s suffice to say “many”.
And with as many opinions that there are about the fixin’s, there are probably just as many about the chili.
With meat? Without meat.
With beans? Without beans.
In the end, I usually include 2 types of meat, usually ground beef and smoked sausage (Be sure to caramelize the sausage in a skillet before adding it to the chili–adds TONS of tastiness.). Not being much of a bean eater, I include my favorite edamame variety instead of traditional. And speaking of straying from traditional, I add a little pumpkin pie spice to the usual cast of spice characters, for a touch of sweetness.
Even though the recipe says to simmer for 2 hours, it has been my experience that the longer you cook it, the bigger, better, bolder the flavor.
So what’s your “fixin’s” pleasure?
- 2 pounds ground sirloin
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 2 cups beef stock
- 1 cup hard cider (may substitute beer, wine or additional beef stock)
- 3 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 pound smoked sausage, sliced into coins
- 1 cup cooked corn kernels
- 1 cup shelled edamame, cooked
- Fixin’s: shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, kidney beans, pasta, freshly chopped onion and cornbread.
- Heat a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Crumble the ground sirloin into the hot pan, and cook until evenly browned. Add onion and cook for a few more minutes. Drain off excess grease.
- Pour in tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, beef stock and hard cider. Season with chili powder, pumpkin pie spice, cumin, garlic, bay leaves and salt. Stir to blend, then cover and simmer over low heat for at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally (The longer it simmers, the better it will taste).
- In the meantime, cook smoked sausage in a large skillet until browned, 4-5 minutes. After cooking chili for 2 hours, taste it and adjust salt and chili powder, if necessary.
- Just before serving, add smoked sausage, corn and edamame. Cook just until heated. Remove bay leaves and serve (If you can’t find them, serve as is, and tell your guests to watch for the “prize”).
- Be sure to serve chili with all the “fixin’s,” such as cheese, sour cream, beans, pasta, freshly chopped onion and cornbread.
Watch video here (and BTW, the video was shot over a year and a half ago, so it is not -6 degrees today!):
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