Classic Beef Chili

I love making chili on a Sunday night, sticking it in the fridge, and having it ready for a weeknight meal. Chili is one of those meals that tastes better the longer it sits, so a day or two in the fridge will only make it better. I’ve tried dozens of chili recipes in search of the perfect basic recipe. I’ve experimented with different regional styles, a variety of meats, bean combinations and more. After several years of searching, this recipe finally satisfied my need for a good pot of beef kidney bean chili with a delicious balance of spice and sweetness. I still love my Moroccan chili, but for a simple classic chili, this has become my go-to recipe. 

6 ounces hot turkey Italian sausage (2-3 links)
1 chopped onion
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
8 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound ground sirloin
1 jalapeño pepper, chopped
2 generous tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 generous 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
2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes, undrained and coarsely chopped
2 (15-ounce) cans kidney beans, drained
Cheddar cheese for topping


Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Remove casings from sausage. Add sausage, onion, pepper, garlic, beef and jalapeno to pan; cook 8 minutes or until sausage and beef are browned, stirring to crumble.

Add chili powder and the next 7 ingredients (chili powder through bay leaves), and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in wine, tomatoes, and kidney beans; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Uncover and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the bay leaves. Sprinkle each serving with cheddar cheese.

Makes 8 servings.

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