The best red chili you'll ever eat
posted | about 4 minutes to read
As part of my decision to start sharing my recipes, I decided it’d be best to provide more than one, at least to start. This one is also a pretty easy recipe, just takes some prep time in the morning and then everything else is easy.
Chili is one of those things that’s easy to come up with an okay recipe for. Problem is, those recipes, in my experience, rarely make it past “okay”. There are a few things that I do to really elevate the dish and I think they really do make a world of difference.
Probably the biggest thing you can do to improve your chili is to ditch the ground beef. Ground beef seems like a staple in almost anyone’s recipe, and it hurts the dish tremendously. It’s boring and bland, and when you’re looking for something that really pops, chorizo sausage is an infinitely better choice. The zip it provides as well as the bold flavor profile really adds a lot.
As a follow up to that, I can’t overstate the value of fresh serrano peppers. They’re a little hotter than jalapenos, but a spicy chili isn’t a bad thing! Splitting the chopped peppers up and putting some in close to the end of the cooking time adds little bites of spice and a nice texture contrast.
One thing that I do that I don’t think is necessary per se but I find really good is ditching kidney beans in favor of black beans. I find the black beans stay a little bit firmer and distribute through the chili better. Not necessary, but recommended - if you’re a “beans in chili” person, anyway. I know this is a controversial issue so I won’t dwell on it.
Finally, upping your spice game helps immensely. The standard McCormick mix doesn’t do much - it still mostly just tastes like tomato soup to me, usually. If you want to stick with a mix, I recommend Arizona Dreaming from Penzey’s (they have really good spices, and I can’t recommend them highly enough) with some additional added cumin and oregano. Otherwise, I’ll include a chili spice mix below that you can start with and tweak to your taste.
For those who prefer green chili, I will be sharing my recipe for that pretty soon. I think it’s better than the red, but it’s certainly a matter of taste.
Red Chorizo Chili
- 1 lb chorizo sausage
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 15.5 oz cans black beans, drained
- 1 29 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 29 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 3 fresh serrano chili peppers, sliced thinly (or more to taste!)
- Do not remove the seeds! That’s where the spice is.
- Chili powder mix to taste (see below)
- Garnishes as desired
- Put 1⁄2 the chopped onion into a saute pan with a little bit of oil and cook until it starts to turn translucent.
- Add the chorizo sausage to the pan and cook until browned. Drain the fat and put pan contents into a slow cooker.
- Add tomatoes, black beans, chili powder, and half of the serranos; stir to combine.
- Cook on low for 7 hours.
- After a couple hours, pull the lid off, stir it, and give it a little taste - now that the flavors have had some time to combine you should be able to get a clear idea of whether you need more chili powder or not. You can add some more if you need to.
- Add remaining peppers and onion and continue to cook for 1-2 hours.
- Serve immediately. For those who want to cut the heat, sour cream works pretty well; pepperjack cheese may also be a good option.
Chili Powder Mix
- 8 parts chili powder
- 2 parts black pepper
- 2 parts smoked paprika
- 1 part onion powder
- 2 parts garlic powder
- 3 parts oregano
- 3 parts cumin
- 1 part cayenne
- 1 part cocoa powder (unsweetened)
- 1 part dried jalapeno flakes
Most of your heat is going to come from your serrano peppers, so we don’t need to go heavy on the cayenne pepper or jalapeno flakes here.
- Combine all ingredients.