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This Sunday, I am making my first pot of chili of the season. I am so excited I can hardly stand it! And it's mostly because of the chili recipe I'm about to share with you.
For years, when I would make a pot of chili, I would just throw a little of this and a little of that in the pot and simmer and call it a day. Until I tried this recipe from AllRecipes.com, my go-to site for recipe and meal ideas. I came across this recipe a few years ago because I had some dried Ancho Chile Peppers that I had picked up on a whim at the grocery store and I was searching for ways to use them. And they really are the star of this chili, giving it a flavorful heat that will make your upper lip sweat just a little without burning your mouth and making you cry.
At first I was a little overwhelmed by the list of ingredients and the instructions. But I had time on my hands and decided to give it a try. While it was just slightly more time consuming than my normal method, I have never gone back! You get so many levels of flavor in one bite, starting with a traditional chili flavor, turning slightly sweet, and then the heat from the dried Ancho Chile Peppers. If you're not a fan of the sweet and savory combo, you could omit the honey and it would still be delicious. But I'm a big fan of sweet heat so I do make a couple of substitutions in this recipe. For 2 of the 4 cans of tomatoes the recipe calls for, I substitute cans of tomatoes with sweet onion. And for the sausage in the recipe, I use one package of Spicy Johnsonville Ground Italian Sausage and one package of Sweet Johnsonville Ground Italian Sausage. I also like to use Vidalia onion for all of the onions. Another slight adjustment I make is I add the Ancho Chile Pepper paste to the pot during Step 3 so it can brown and caramelize in the pan with the tomato paste. You can adjust this recipe in a lot of ways to suit your personal taste. Add the beans or don't. Add the carrots or don't. Use 1 onion or 3 onions. But DON'T leave out the dried Ancho Chile Peppers. I promise you'll thank me later. Click here for the full recipe.