Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Chili for a Crowd

You would think summer was over with all the soup and chili I have been craving lately. I had been craving Chili for a Crowd ever since my friend Shannon brought it to a dinner in the park (the last one before school started). I helped myself to a bowl with all the fixing, and I loved it. The chili has a complex flavor I have never tasted before in a chili. Shannon got this recipe out of the Silver Palate Cookbook, but she says that she uses this recipe as more of a spice guide than a true recipe. Sometimes she adds different beans sometimes she adds beer instead of the wine the recipe calls for. So, I felt free to try out my own adaptations when I made it. Of course I had to order a copy of the Silver Palate Cookbook from Amazon. I never owned a copy of my own. I did own a copy of the New Basics Cookbook by the same authors, but I got rid of it in order downsize my cookbook collection when we moved, but I had never made anything from it.

My cookbook came, so I could finally try the recipe on my own. The title is certainly correct. The recipe in the book could feed an army! I was trying to cut it down 75% but I started to get confused with the spice math, so I decided to cut it down 50% to save the top of my head from exploding. I served it for dinner one night, and I froze the rest for another meal.

I made the recipe my own by adding some green chilies for interest, and I used more tomatoes and beans than the recipe called for, and I added a bottle of beer instead of the ¼ cup of burgundy the recipe called for. I did add the whole olives, but I don’t recommend it. The olives tasted funny after they had been in the chili for a while. If you would like olives have them as a topping.

My friend Melissa tasted it (I had it for lunch on Tuesday) and she immediately pictured it as the meat topping on nachos. She told me today she has been craving nachos ever since she tasted the chili.

Chili for a Crowd
Adapted from the Silver Palate Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins

¼ cup olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1lb sweet Italian sausage (removed meat from the casings)
4lbs ground chuck
2 ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 can tomato paste
1 ½ Tablespoon minced garlic
¼ cup cumin
½ cup chili powder
¼ cup Dijon mustard
2 Tablespoons salt
2 Tablespoons dried basil
2 Tablespoons dried oregano
56 oz Italian plum tomatoes
14.5 oz can of fire roasted diced tomatoes
2 6 oz cans diced chilies
1 bottle of beer
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ cup chopped parsley
¼ cup chopped fresh dill
4 cans of beans (I used 2 cans of kidney beans and 2 cans of black beans)

Heat the olive oil in a very large heavy pot and add the onions and cook until tender. Crumble the Italian sausage and the ground beef into the pot and cook over medium heat until the meat is well browned. Scoop out as much of the fat as possible. Turn the heat to low and stir in the black pepper, minced garlic, cumin, chili powder, mustard, salt, basil and oregano. Add the drained tomatoes, beer, lemon juice, dill, parsley and beans. Stir well and bring to a boil then lower the temperature and simmer for 20 minutes.

Top with: sour cream, chives, olives, shredded cheese and tortilla chips. Makes about 20 servings.

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