My husband Rick, a.k.a. Murph, is a great cook. I truly believe that he initially won my heart through my stomach. While the man conjures up a lot of amazing dishes, I’d have to say that his chili is a perennial favorite. Murph’s version is loosely based upon an old go-to Craig Claiborne cookbook, Craig Claiborne’s Favorites, The New York Times, ‘All American Chili’ recipe. Over the years, he’s tinkered with it and has truly made it his own.
The reviews are in, and they’ve been consistent in praise from all those who’ve indulged. Enjoy!
Murph’s Country House Chili
Serves approximately 12
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 lbs. yellow onions, peeled and chopped
2 large sweet bell peppers, seeded and diced (red, orange or yellow)
1 large, fresh poblano pepper, seeded and finely diced
1-3 jalapeño peppers, or similar hot peppers, seeded and finely diced*
4 pounds ground beef
1 pound bulk Italian sausage (sweet, hot or a combination)
20 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
½ cup chili powder
¼ cup ancho chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon celery salt
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 cans (28 ounces each) of whole, peeled tomatoes, undrained
1 can (6 ounce) tomato paste
5 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 ounce of milk or dark chocolate
2 teaspoons liquid smoke
Suggested toppings: Sour cream, shredded sharp Vermont cheddar cheese, chopped scallions, diced avocado, and if you have it, cooked and crumbled bacon-y goodness.
Heat the oil in a large 8-quart pot. Add the onions, sweet bell and poblano peppers. At this point, you may also add a conservative amount of jalapeño peppers.* Cook at medium high heat for 3-4 minutes until wilted. Add the garlic and continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes.
Add the beef and sausage to the pot and cook at a medium heat, breaking up the large clumps of meat as it cooks. Stir in the chili and ancho chili powder.
When the meat is mostly browned, add the cumin, oregano, celery salt, salt and pepper. Stir to blend well. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, chocolate and liquid smoke. Simmer on low for 2-3 hours, occasionally stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon.
Serve hot with the toppings of your choice.
*Consider incorporating the hot peppers gradually. You can always add more, but you can’t take them out. Murph makes this chili at least a day or two before serving to allow for the flavors and heat to develop. Tasting it multiple times throughout, he makes adjustments to the seasoning, adding more heat, or salt, etc., according to the preferences of his chili adoring fans.