Spooktacular Beef and Italian Sausage Chili


It’s cool and blustery in the south, the pumpkin is carved and it’s looking very Halloweeny around here, indeed. And for me, Halloween and trick or treating always means having some spicy and spooky chili on hand to enjoy while treating the kids.

It’s a busy day, so I’ll keep this short and sweet…this chili is out of this world, muaaahaaahaaahaaa!

Some wonderful moments from one of my all time favorite “scary” movies!

As you may already know, I’m a chili-hound and this one is my new favorite chili. For a fantastic non-beef chili you can see my Holy Mole Turkey Chili right here. Or for a vegan chili, check out this Vegetarian Black Bean Chili right here. Have a safe and Happy Halloween, y’all!

A quick note to send wishes for a speedy recovery to all of my readers and their families who have or are suffering from the hurricane in the northeastern U.S. and Canada. I hope you and yours are well and safe.

Spooktacular Beef and Italian Sausage Chili
Makes 10-12 Servings

1 3/4 lbs. ground beef, preferably 90/10 ratio of lean to fat
1 lb. high quality hot italian pork sausage, removed from casings (I used our local Pine Street Market)
1 1/2 Tablespoons of olive oil
2 large yellow onions, peeled and diced
1 large red onion, peeled and diced
1 each medium red, yellow, orange and green bell peppers, seeded and diced (or use an available equivalent)
12 large garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced
2 large chipotle chilies in 2 teaspoons of adobo sauce, finely minced (you could substitute a fresh red or green jalapeno for the chipotle if you can’t find them, it just won’t give you the smoky flavor of chipotle)
2 fresh or dried whole bay leaves
5 heaping Tablespoons of chili powder
1 Tablespoon of ancho chili powder
2 heaping teaspoons of ground cumin
1/2 Tablespoon each of dried basil, oregano and fresh black pepper
1/4 teaspoon of chinese five spice powder
1/4 teaspoon of dried red pepper flakes
3 teaspoons of kosher salt
2 cans of black beans, no salt added, drained and rinsed
1 can of red kidney beans, no salt added, drained and rinsed
1 28 oz can of whole, peeled plum tomatoes with juice, low sodium
2-14.5 oz cans of diced tomatoes, low sodium, with juice
1 generous cup of dry red wine (chianti is very nice)
1 1/2 cups of water
2 Tablespoons of semi sweet chocolate chips

Grated extra sharp cheddar cheese for serving

Brown the ground beef in a large, heavy bottomed stock pot over medium to medium high heat. Drain the beef with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl. Set aside. Pour the fat and water out of the stock pot, and brown the sausage over medium to medium high heat. Remove the sausage from the pot with a slotted spoon and set aside, reserving the fat from the sausage.

Add the olive oil to the pot with the sausage drippings and heat over medium high heat. Add the onions, bell peppers, garlic and chipotes to the pot, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft and the onions are translucent. Add the bay leaves, chili powder, ancho chili powder, cumin, basil, oregano, black pepper, chinese five spice powder, dried red pepper flakes and kosher salt to the pot, and stir for about 1-2 minutes to cook the spices…don’t allow them to burn, keep them moving! Add the tomatoes, water, wine, beans, beef and sausage to the pot and stir well, then add the chocolate chips. Bring the chili to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 30-45 minutes, or until the chili is thick and all the flavors have blended. Fish out the bay leaves and throw them away. Serve with grated extra sharp cheddar cheese, or your favorite toppings and a little cornbread on the side. As with all chili, this is even better the next day, and it freezes well!