Jesse has been cooking for a few years now. Each recipe he posts is tried and true!
Mild vs XXX Hot
One thing I never knew growing up was that true chili, Texas Chili, did not include beans. I live in Ohio where the closest signature chili hails from Cincinnati. Cincinnati chili typically is served over spaghetti, and sometimes even includes raisins and brown sugar. Needless to say, for most of my life I was not a fan of chili. That is, until I had to participate in a chili cook-off at my work. This is the recipe I used, and won with, in my first ever attempt at making chili. It is Texas-style (some would say the tomatoes would negate that claim; others would say it is fine) and it is hot, hot, HOT! Don't worry though, if you are a person who cannot handle the heat, I will give you a few options for a milder, meaty meal!
So, to begin, you will need:
Ingredients for Chili
- 1 pound ground beef or ground venison
- 1 pound ground breakfast sausage, spicy or mild
- 1/2 pound thick-cut bacon, peppered or plain
- 1 1/2 large yellow onions, diced
- 2 habanero peppers
- 4 jalapeño peppers
- 1 large can crushed tomatoes
- 1 can (14.5 oz) beef broth
- 1 can (14.5 oz) chicken broth
- 1 bag (10-12 count) dried ancho chiles
- 6 cloves garlic, crushed
How to Cook Chili
To begin this chili, we need to get all of our ingredients ready to go early. The key to a great chili is to cook it low and slow. I typically cook my chili for a few hours, and that is not including the process of cooking and mixing the ingredients. Once everything is together we want the flavors to mingle and the meat to become tender. This can only happen with a long, slow, simmer.
- Part One: Prepare Your Ingredients
- Part Two: Time to Incorporate the Meat
- Part Three: Simmer Time!
Part One: Prepare Your Ingredients
- To begin, dice your onions and crush your garlic and set them both aside for later.
- Once you have your veggie ingredients, it is time to get to the peppers. First, you will deal with your jalapeños and habaneros.
- Take three jalapenos and one habanero and put them on the grill on high heat (or broil them if you do not have a grill).
- Wait until they are slightly charred, and then remove the seeds and membranes.
- Dice the charred peppers and mix them with your set aside onions and garlic. The char on the peppers will add a slightly smoky/grilled flavor to the chili.
- Take your last jalapeno and habanero and poke holes in it with a knife or fork.
- Set these to the side until later.
- Next, you'll want to prep your ancho chiles. If you run a knife down the side of your anchos you should be able to shake the seeds right out!
- Once all seeds are removed, put the chiles in a skillet and lightly toast them for a few minutes until you can really smell them, then put them in a big bowl and cover them with very hot water.
- Let them steep in the water until they become rehydrated and soft.
- Drain all of the ancho chile water, leaving about a half cup, and put it, along with the chiles, into a blender and blend until smooth.
Part Two: Time to Incorporate the Meat
Now that our peppers, onions, and garlic are ready to go, it's time to start the meat!
- Begin by cooking your bacon. You can cook the bacon as crisp as you'd like, but once it's simmered for a few hours it will naturally become softer again.
- Once the bacon is cooked, crumble it and mix it into the onion and garlic mixture.
- Save some of the bacon grease to cook our onions, and discard the rest.
- Take the onion mix and the bit of grease you've saved and cook them until the onions are translucent.
- Once this happens, add your beef and sausage and cook until they are completely browned.
- Drain the grease, and we'll prep our liquid and secret to the heat!
Part Three: Simmer Time!
- Now that your meats are all well-mixed with our peppers, onion, and garlic, it is time to finish up and start simmering.
- Take the ancho chili paste you blended and thoroughly mix it with the meat. This will give the chili a great smoky flavor, with a mild chili kick and great color and flavor.
- Next, add your tomatoes and both cans of broth. If you want your chili to be mild, simply simmer from this point for a few hours and then enjoy! If you want the XXXtra hot that I titled this for, then throw in your peppers you poked holes in and simmer them with the liquid, as pictured above.
- Simmer them for at least an hour. This will layer all of your chili's contents with the oil of the peppers, adding significant heat throughout every bite.
- When the time is up, press them with a spoon and drain any excess liquid out of them into your chili. You can then toss them, or if you want to really add heat, dice them with the membranes and seed and toss them in as well.
- BE WARNED This is incredibly hot chili that you should only eat if you REALLY like hot chili; otherwise, keep my mild suggestions in mind, and it's still delicious!
Finishing Up the Spicy Chili
At this point, you only have to cook the chili on a low simmer for at least 4-6 hours. The only thing left to do after that is determine how thick you'd like your chili to be. If you like it thinner, simply simmer for the time listed and enjoy! If you like it a bit thicker, you can add a tablespoon of masa harina (Mexican cornmeal) and stir it in. If you don't have masa available, you can simply crush up some Tostitos or other corn chips and use it as thickener instead. Once it's exactly how you like it, dig in and enjoy!
How was it?!
Questions, Comments, or Criticisms?
Let me know in the comments below what you think this would pair well with, or any praise or criticism of the dish! I look forward to reading and responding to any questions as well! Also, please be sure to keep an eye out for any new recipes I post or pair with this dish! And as always, keep eating good!
Jesse Unk (author) from Ohio on May 02, 2020:
Im the same way! Thanks for reading!
Cynthia Hoover from Newton, West Virginia on May 02, 2020:
Score, excellent spicy chili recipe! Thank you for the easy to follow instructions. I have a motto all the time when determining what to make and friends as if I like spicy foods. 'I like to light my mouth on fire whenever I can', the hotter the better for me.
Jesse Unk (author) from Ohio on July 11, 2017:
I lovvvvvvve it spicy! Although, one time I did make this unbearably hot on accident. It was for my annual chili cook off also. I went from chili champ to chili chump with that one!
Thanks for reading,
Brenda from Florida on July 11, 2017:
This looks really good, but a bit hot for my taste, but jalapenos are always good