Killer Chili

I made this chili recipe for the first time for library staff in December 2005 – it received rave reviews.  I made it again using Czech sausage instead of the ground beef, and it was also very good.

1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1 1/2 t. kosher salt
3/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 lb. sliced bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
6 medium garlic cloves, pressed
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. paprika
2 tbsp. ground cumin
1 tbsp. dried oregano
1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes with juice
1 bottle (12 oz.) medium-heft beer
3 bay leaves
2 cans red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 tbsp. cornmeal

In a large soup pot, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp.  Remove the bacon from the pot, leaving the fat.  Add ground beef and cook until browned.  Add the onion and cook until wilted.  Add the garlic and jalapenos and cook uncovered until soft, about 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the chili powder, paprika, cumin, and oregano.  When the vegetables are cooked, return the bacon to the pot and add the spices along with 2 tablespoons water to keep the spices from burning.  Stir well, then stir in the tomatoes and their juice.  Add the beer and bay leaves and stir, then add 1 quart of water.  Bring to a slow simmer and cook, partially covered, for about 2 hours.

Stir in the beans and the cornmeal.  Uncover and simmer for 30 minutes more.  Serve with sour cream.


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