With temperatures dipping below 70°F in New York this week, it's officially became OK to turn our stoves on again. To herald this happy occasion, I broke out All-American Chili, a popular Cooking Light recipe I've been meaning to try since May. And by the sinking fastball of Roy Halladay, it didn't disappoint.
Loaded with beans and vegetables, each sizable serving also contained about two or three ounces of hearty meat—enough to get some with every bite, but not so much I felt like I was eating a burger. The spice was dead-on, as well. A combination of chili powder, diced jalapeño pepper, and hot Italian turkey sausage punched everything up without overwhelming the other flavors. I served the dish with cornbread muffins, the way nature intended.
Beyond that, like other chilis featured in this Healthy & Delicious column, All-American Chili was tasty right out of the pot, and through-the-roof delectable the next day. The recipe makes an enormous amount of food, so you won't be lacking for leftovers, either.
One quick note about cooking: To chop the tomatoes, pulse them twice in a food processor or use a pair of kitchen shears. Of course, if you're not feeling inclined to try either, buy two large cans of diced tomatoes. The other ingredients will more than compensate for any loss of flavor.
Man, I'm happy to be using my stove again. I wonder if autumn accepts thank you notes.
- 6 ounces hot Italian turkey sausage (2 or 3 links), casings removed
- 2 medium onions, chopped medium (about 2 cups)
- 1 large green bell pepper, chopped medium (about 1 cup)
- 8 garlic cloves, finely minced or grated on a microplane (about 8 teaspoons)
- 1 pound ground sirloin
- 1 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 1/4 cups Merlot or other fruity red wine
- 2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes, undrained and coarsely chopped
- 2 (15-ounce) cans kidney beans, drained
- 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high until hot (about 1 minute). Add sausage, onion, bell pepper, garlic, sirloin, and jalapeno. Cook, stirring frequently and breaking up meat with back of wooden spoon until meat is browned and onions are translucent, 8 to 12 minutes.
Add chili powder, brown sugar, cumin, tomato paste, oregano, black pepper, salt, and bay leaves. Cook until fragrant, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Add wine, tomatoes, and beans. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until flavors have blended and liquid has reduced, about 1 hour, stirring occasionally to prevent it from sticking to bottom of pan.
Remove cover and cook an additional 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove bay leaves. Scoop into bowls and sprinkle with graded cheddar. Serve with remaining wine.