Meaty chili

If for any reason you don’t eat meat, you should probably stop reading now and move along. Find another blog to read today. Otherwise I fear you’ll be completely overloaded by this post.

That’s the pile of meat that went into my vat of chili. And this picture is a little misleading because you can’t see the three packages of ground turkey. Wowzers. Sometimes I even shock myself.

If you’re still reading, I can only assume you’ll love this recipe–you add the ingredients in a progression of meats that makes the whole thing feel like a real labor of love. It’s the perfect project for a long weekend afternoon, with a little chill in the air and some good music wafting through your kitchen. I like that it’s home-cooked comfort food that is in no way healthy, and in every way yummy.

Before you get started, make sure you have an enormous pot. I suppose you could cut this recipe in half to accommodate a smaller dutch oven, but what fun would that be? I like to make it in bulk and freeze it in individual portions because this chili actually gets better with time. Yes, you read that right–when you thaw it out, it somehow manages to become even more flavorful than it was when you just finished cooking it. I can’t explain it, but surely someone out there with a passing interest in chemistry could tell you why. At any rate, I like to have it in the freezer to take to work for a yummy lunch. The days I pack this chili are among the few days I’m actually not tempted to eat out instead.

One other item of note–I highly recommend you play around with the ingredients. I do something a little different almost every time I make this, and it always turns out great. This time I used chicken sausage instead of pork. Yum! Don’t be afraid to experiment. Also be sure to serve with plenty of sour cream and your favorite shredded cheddar. I’m a firm believer that no week should go by in which I don’t eat at least one meal that includes sour cream and cheese.

Meaty chili

The amounts are approximate–buy whatever you can find in even amounts in your grocery store.

  • 4 oz pancetta, diced
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 60 oz canned tomato sauce
  • 60 oz canned peeled and diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp oregano
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp chipotle chili pepper seasoning
  • 1 lb bacon, diced
  • 2 lbs spicy sausage
  • 3 lbs ground turkey
  • 36 oz hickory smoke bbq sauce (I use Trader Joe’s variety)
  • 1/2 c chili powder (or less if you like less spicy chili)
  • 60 oz canned kidney beans (do not drain)
  • 2 oz unsweetened chocolate squares
  1. In your biggest stew pot, heat the pancetta until fat begins to render. Add onion and mix well to coat, then cover and cook for a few minutes (until onion begins to soften).
  2. While onion is cooking, add bacon to a large skillet. Bacon should cook fully but should not be crispy.
  3. Add tomato sauce and chunks to onion mixture and mix well. Add oregano, a liberal sprinkle of salt and pepper, and chipotle chili pepper. Set heat to medium-low. Throughout this process, you want the chili to simmer gently.
  4. Once bacon is cooked, stir into chili pot, reserving some bacon grease in the skillet.
  5. Squeeze sausage meat out of casing, or cut into bite-sized pieces. Cook in bacon grease until browned slightly, then stir into chili pot.
  6. Cook ground turkey in remaining bacon grease until all pink has disappeared. Stir into chili pot.
  7. When all meat has been added to chili pot, stir in bbq sauce and chili powder. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.
  8. Stir in kidney beans, including the juice that comes in the can.
  9. Chop chocolate into small cubes and stir into chili. Allow chocolate to melt fully and simmer the chili for as long as you can handle. Generally, the longer the better, but if you are eager to dig in, just make sure the chocolate is fully melted.

Enjoy!

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