There must be as many ways to make chili as there are shades of Sherwin-Williams paints. There’s no right or wrong way to make chili. It’s all about what pleases your taste buds. And, I’m always willing to give a new twist to a pot of chili.
Dennis Weimann, News Director/Anchor of Lakeland News at Lakeland Public Television sent me an email the other day and shared a chili recipe he had developed. He was planning to make a pot that day. Maybe he’s getting ready for the next United Way Chili Cook-off in Bemidji.
I examined the list of ingredients. First, I noticed it had beans and meat. That’s important to me. I can eat a chili with beans and meat or with beans only. I don’t mean to make any of my Texas friends shudder, but I just can’t call it chili if there is only meat with no beans in the pot.
As my eyes moved further down the list of ingredients, I began to see a side of Dennis Weimann that amazed me. I had no idea he was a spice guy. A chili head. A lover of heat. His chili was loaded with all things hot and spicy — three kinds of hot peppers, astounding amounts of chili powder and ground cumin, 2 tablespoons of cayenne pepper and 1 tablespoon of hot pepper sauce and 1 tablespoon of ground black pepper. I was just beginning to think Weimann was playing a joke on me when another message from him popped into my email box. He was thinking about cutting back on the tomato sauce in the recipe.
It was the 2 tablespoons of Cajun seasoning that really hooked me, though. Well, the 2 tablespoons of paprika didn’t hurt, either. My Hungarian genes make me toss paprika into just about everything. I had just used Tony Chachere’s Creole seasoning in Chex Mix Cha Cha (in my previous post you’ll discover where the Cha Cha comes from). I had a container of Cajun seasoning sitting on the shelf right next to the Creole seasoning. I would make this wicked Weimann chili with a few heat adjustments.
The original recipe calls for 2 pounds of spicy pork sausage, but with meat from a quarter of an organic grass-fed cow in my freezer, I opted to use 2 pounds of ground beef.
I followed the news anchor’s recipe pretty closely. But, I had to draw the line at 2 tablespoons of ground cayenne and 2 tablespoons of hot pepper sauce. It turned out the chili didn’t need that extra heat at all.
Wicked Chili is not for the faint of heart. It is not for anyone who can’t take some heat. This chili is right at the brink of being too hot for me. With shredded Cheddar and sour cream, this chili’s sweat-power gets turned down a notch.
Wicked Chili will get us through the blizzard (as my Dad would say, “Chili today, hot tamale!”) and all the football games this New Year’s weekend. It might become the meal served during all the television football games in January.
It’s wicked good.
Happy New Year, dear readers. Make each new day wicked good.
Wicked Chili(adapted from Dennis Weimann’s original recipe)
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Serrano peppers, minced
- 2 Jalapeno peppers, seeds removed, minced
- 1 Anaheim pepper, seeds removed, minced
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 tablespoons cumin
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 2 tablespoons Tony Chachere’s Cajun seasoning (this gives the chili the Cha Cha)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
- 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 (15-ounce) can hot chili beans
- 2 (28-ounce) cans of diced tomatoes with juice
Heat olive oil in large pot over medium heat. When oil is hot, add onion and green pepper. Saute until almost tender. Add garlic, serrano peppers, jalapeno peppers and Anaheim peppers and saute for 2 minutes. Add ground beef. Cook and stir mixture until meat is cooked through. Drain any fat from the pot.
Add brown sugar, chili powder, ground cumin, oregano, paprika, Cajun seasoning and black pepper. Mix well. Add beans and tomatoes with juice. Stir and heat through. Serve piping hot with shredded cheese, sour cream and corn tortilla chips. Makes 8 servings.
Tips from the cook
- I didn’t feel the need to add any tomato sauce, but Weimann’s recipe uses at least 1 (28-ounce) can of sauce.
- I left the seeds in one of the Serrano peppers, but removed them from all the other peppers. The seeds add a lot of heat.