i don’t know how food bloggers do it! i couldn’t take a decent picture of chili if my life depended on it! i think they officially have the hardest job ;)
i’ve been making this chili for years, and its different every time. i make it in huge batches, usually filling my 2 largest pots. this time i borrowed a gigantic pot of a friend’s and fit it all in there.
so remember, this recipe is very loose. like i said, its different every time i make it but always yummy! another key to this soup is preparation. as in, i prepare for months to make this. every time i have veggies that we won’t be able to finish before they go bad, i chop them up and freeze them until i have time to make my next batch of chili. my kids will eat pretty much all veggies, so i just chop them up. but if you have picky kids (or husbands!) you can also grate up the veggies so they aren’t discernible. we also chop up left over meat (pork or steak) and freeze it for the chili.
also, i prefer to just use canned beans, but you can use dry beans and soak and cook them yourself. i’ve only done it once and it was definitely cheaper, but it took forever and didn’t taste as good!
2 20 oz. packages of ground turkey (or beef, your choice)
2 packs of italian sausage (sweet or spicy)
variety of veggies – we use broccoli, celery, onions, garlic, peas, corn (canned is fine), tomatoes, mushrooms, bell peppers, green beans, carrots… whatever we can get our hands on!
beans – whatever kind you prefer. we use cannelini, black, pinto, kidney… we probably use about 12-15 cans of beans (less if we get the big cans).
diced tomatoes – about 10 cans
tomato sauce – 8 cans
i told you it was loose! so often i will just make this with what i have on hand. you can use more or less of any of the ingredients and be just fine!
i’ve even added v8 when i needed more liquid in my chili!
so let’s get started!
i grab all my loot out of the freezer and defrost it in a sink of warm water.
while thats defrosting i start browning the sausage and turkey. once thats done i drain the fat off and add it to my giant pot.
get a cute assistant to help you open the million of cans. i start with the beans, for no reason.
get another cute assistant to rinse all the beans for you until there are no more bubbles, then add to the giant pot.
get a hunky assistant to do all your chopping and add all the veggies (raw) to the pot.
keep adding all the canned everything. once i start adding the liquids i turn on the heat, just on low, to get it all cooking. remember to stir often so the stuff on the bottom doesn’t get burnt.
get even another assistant to take all sorts of random pictures for you. this step is really important ;)
i told you we put everything in this and here’s proof: someone gave us a random squash and we didn’t know how to cook it so we grated it up and froze it. in it went!
i think onions add so much flavor so i usually add one or 2, depending on size. i do chop it up pretty good because that is the one veggie my kids don’t love. then i saute it until they are translucent.
get another assistant to peel the garlic (i use almost a whole head), then chop it up teeny tiny. or buy the pre-chopped stuff. add to the sauteing onions just before they are finished. then add it all to the pot and stir.
i also add salt and chili powder to taste. i also sometimes add a variety of other spices, but these 2 are for sure. i also like to add some tabasco, but not enough that its too spicy for the kids.
then i let it sit all. day. long.
until dinner time. then eat!
we like to add shredded cheese, sour cream, and diced avocado to ours – yummmmm!
see all the veggies in there?! so good!
once i serve up the chili for dinner, i turn off the heat to get it to start cooling off.
when i serve up the chili for dinner for my family, i pay attention to how many ladles full i serve. that way i know how many scoops it takes to serve my family. once the chili has cooled a bit i fill up freezer bags with the number of scoops it takes to feed my family. then i spread out the bags on the counter and let them cool off for a couple hours. then i can stack them flat in the freezer.
the beauty of this chili, besides it being filled with veggies (and sausage, yum), it made about 8 extra meals for us! i am really bad about planning meals ahead of time, so if its 5 o’clock and i don’t know what to make, i’ll grab a bag of chili from the freezer, defrost it in some warm water, and reheat it on the stove. while the chili is defrosting i’ll start a batch of corn bread muffins. they are usually done by the time the chili is warmed up. and dinner is on the table within 20-30 minutes!