If you’re looking for a chili recipe to wow your Super Bowl guests, here’s a champion. The thing about this recipe, which I made up after years of experimenting, is that the base sauce is incredibly flavorful and tangy. I do not like chilies with pasty, brown sauces. I like a sauce that’s more reminiscent of a hearty marinara. In this chili, which you can make as spicy as you like, you can also taste the ingredients, which are fresh and pungent.
One final word on this recipe—use your palate and vary it to suit your tastes. You can toss in more or less red wine, basil, or beans. You don’t care for basil? No problem, add cilantro or oregano, or whatever you like. If you don’t care for kidney beans, make it with black beans. Don’t like beans at all? Toss in a can or ear of corn. If you don’t like ground beef, make it with ground turkey. You get the picture.
I’ve done all of these variations and they all work, as long as that great tangy base stays the same. The end result always delicious chili that guests rave about. As long as you score, who cares who wins the game?
- One 28-ounce can Progresso Italian plum whole tomatoes (large)
- Two 15-ounce cans diced Italian style (with basil and oregano) tomatoes
- One or two 15-ounce cans of kidney beans (if you like beans, do two cans!)
- 1, 25-ounce jar of Ragu or Prego any kind of plain red pasta tomato sauce
- 1 small can tomato paste or 1 Tablespoon concentrated tomato paste from a tube
- 2 1/2 pounds of ground beef
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 red or yellow pepper finely chopped
- 8 sun-dried tomatoes—either dried or in oil, chopped
- 2 Tablespoons of olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 3 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 1 cup red wine
- salt/pepper to taste
- 1-1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (if you can’t find smoked use 1/2 tsp regular)
- Five shakes of tobacco sauce (red or green) or any hot sauce
- Optional: grated cheddar cheese/sour cream/chives for the top
Warm up the olive oil in a sauté pan. Sauté garlic and onions together. Do not burn cook on medium heat. Toss in chopped red or yellow pepper. Remove and set aside this mix.
In the same pan (now empty) cook hamburger. When almost cooked (i.e. slightly pink), toss back in onion/garlic/red pepper.
Chop the Progresso plum tomatoes into bite-size pieces. Do not throw away the liquid. Add chopped tomatoes and liquid from can to the pan.
Add the diced tomatoes and the red pasta tomato sauce. If your sundried tomatoes are dried (not in oil) add them now. Cook on low heat for 45 minutes.
Season with salt, pepper, chili powder, smoked paprika and tobasco.
Add kidney beans, sun-dried tomatoes if in oil (not dry), and red wine and simmer on low heat for 10 more minutes.
Serve with grated cheddar cheese, chives and sour cream on top.
Serves 8 people.
If you like spicy food, add 1 finely chopped jalapeno pepper and 1/2 teaspoon red pepper (cayenne) seasoning.