RECIPE: Spicy Beef + Sausage Chili

This is hands down the best chili I’ve ever had, and it’s homemade!  My mother and I found this recipe for Spicy Beef Chili a couple of years ago in a Food & Wine yearly cookbook (from 2008 or 2009?) and we’ve been making it every winter.  I added the “sausage” part to the title because it pays an integral role to the flavor.

It’s chock-full of meat and has just the right amount of spice, and is perfect for savoring for dinner, and especially good as leftovers.  It makes a huge amount of chili, but that won’t be a problem – it’s crazy addicting that you won’t mind eating it for days.  All you really need is a huge pot, a huge pan, and some decent chopping and stirring skills, so… here you go!

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds chuck steak cut into 1/2 inch dice
salt and pepper
1 pound hot italian sausages, casings removed, meat broken up into 1 inch pieces
1 large white onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 28 ounce can dice tomatoes
1 cup water
1 15 oz can pinto beans, drained
1 15 oz can cannellini beans, drained
1 15 oz can kidney beans, drained
shredded cheddar cheese + sour cream


(Note: I am really not that good with estimating times of how long things should be cooked – for this recipe, it’s easy to tell when things are done – the only thing you may want to be careful with is the meat!)

Heat up a pan with oil until shimmering, then stir in the beef (seasoned liberally with salt and pepper) until fully cooked.  You may have to do this in parts depending on how large your pan is. After it is cooked, set aside.

Add a little bit more oil into the same pan and add the sausage until fully browned, continually stirring and breaking up the pieces.  Like you did with the beef, set aside.

Take a large pot and heat up the oil, then add the onions and stir continually until tender.  Add the garlic and stir for another minute.  Then, add the spices and stir until the onions and garlic are covered and it smells fragrant.  Slowly, add the can of diced tomatoes.  

This is the part that my mom likes to do in order to maximize flavor, and she’s also super Asian so naturally she doesn’t want to waste anything.  Pour a cup of water into the can of tomatoes so you can get that extra tomato juice.  Then, pour the water into the pan you used for the meat – the water will soak up all the extra meatiness!  Add this to the pot, then cover and simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally.

After an hour, add all the beans.  Stir and let simmer for ten more minutes.  Serve in bowls and top with cheese and sour cream.  Warning: one bowl is extremely filling!