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Chili and football go together like peanut butter and jelly, macaroni and cheese, Uncle Jesse and Aunt Becky...the list could go on and on. What's your favorite season? Correct answer: football season.
I love making a big spread for game day but every once in a while it's nice to just keep it simple and get a big batch of chili going bright and early. Wake up, make coffee and get some sausage browning. Chili is awesome because it's easy and it gets better the longer it cooks so you can really set it and forget it. Once you get it simmering all you have to worry about is how hungry Linval Joseph is (#Skol).
If you're having people over and want to get fancy, set out a topping bar and let people load up their bowls. Today, I kept it simple with the classics: sour cream, cheddar cheese and chives. The only twist was that I had just roasted up some pumpkin seeds so I threw on a few of those for an extra crunch. Toasted sourdough (substitute your favorite gluten free bread or crackers to keep this meal GF) on the side and the perfect fall meal was complete. In fact, I'm about to heat up another bowl of it for the night game.
1 16oz package Jimmy Dean hot sausage
1 large yellow onion - chopped
4 garlic cloves - minced
1/2 c. chicken broth (+1/2 c. to mix in near end)
13.4 oz cannellini beans
15.5 oz pinto beans
31 oz (2 cans) dark kidney beans
12 oz. tomato paste
28 oz. crushed tomatoes
28 oz. diced tomatoes
red pepper flakes
splash of Worcestershire sauce
pinch of sugar
shredded cheddar cheese
roasted pumpkin seeds
In a large stock pot, brown the sausage over medium/medium-high heat. Once the sausage is a few minutes from done add the onion and continue cooking about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally and breaking up the sausage. Add garlic, stir to combine and cook an additional 2 minutes. Deglaze the pan with 1/2 c. chicken broth (make sure to scrape all the browned, caramelized goodness from the bottom of the pan - there's so much flavor there!).
Drain and rinse the beans. Add to pot and cook over medium high heat for a minute or two. Add tomato paste and stir to combine. Cook an additional couple of minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the rest of your tomatoes, stir to combine. Bring to boil and then reduce heat to low. Stir in the other 1/2 c. of chicken broth.
Season to taste with salt, pepper, oregano, paprika, red pepper flakes, thyme and cayenne. Add a splash of Worcestershire sauce and a pinch of sugar. I don't give measurements here because everyone's tastes are different. I like really salty and spicy food so I add a good deal of salt and cayenne. You may prefer more oregano. Add a little at a time and taste throughout until satisfied. Remember to start small, you can always add more, but once it's in it's hard to take out!
Let simmer until ready to serve, stir occasionally. If you make it really early you can turn off the heat after simmering for 15-20 minutes and just turn it back on prior to serving.