If you've got a slow cooker, you will love this concoction that has become an annual tradition at my house Oscar Night. The chilly weather will be right around the corner and my Italian Sausage Chili will warm you like no blanket can. Sure, you can substitute ground turkey and get the same taste treat. But, the Italian sausage variation is even more delicious. Must be all that tasty fat.
Here's what you do.
First off, if you don't have those crockpot liners, buy a box. You will not have to wash the thing later and clean-up in front of your guests is virtually nil. You will thank me.
You'll need 1 and a 1/2 pounds of ground Italian sausage. You might be one of those bozos who will buy the actual sausage and squeeze the meat out of it. Me? I buy it already ground up.
In a pan with some olive oil, brown the sausage lightly. Drain it and set aside.
Take one chopped onion and two chopped cloves of garlic and saute them together in the pan where you have the sausage drippings. When the onions get a little translucent, you're done. Dump it into your...lined...crockpot and then add the drained sausage.
Add one 28 oz. can of whole tomatoes drained.
Scoop in one small can of tomato paste. Squirting from a tube works just as well.
Toss in one can of drained red kidney beans and one can of drained white kidney beans. Do not add the water from the beans.
Seasoning? I'm glad you asked.
Two tablespoons of chili powder.
Three drops of tabasco. You can exclude if you have stomach issues.
A tablespoon of oregano.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Now, for the ingredients that will have you saying..."What?!!!"
Two tablespoons of brown sugar.
Yeah, you heard me.
One half-cup of beer. The darker, the better.
Yeah, you heard me.
The good news is that, while you're stirring this all together, you can finish the rest of the beer bottle.
Now I've seen recently on Patricia Heaton's cooking show that she adds black coffee to her chili. I will try that in the future. For now, just use the beer.
Set your slow cooker on high for four hours or low for eight hours. Let the aroma permeate your house. You'll get hungry pretty quickly.
Serve in bowls and top it with chopped red onions or shredded cheddar cheese (Sargento has the best). Some people like sour cream as a topping, but I don't and you'll never get that offered in my house.
Dinner last night: Dodger Dog at the game.