Aired December 12, 2010
1/4 pound pancetta, diced, optional
About 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, a scant palmful
2 pounds ground beef or ground pork or beef and pork combined
Salt and pepper
2 red cherry chili peppers or red Fresno chili peppers, sliced or seeded and chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 to 4 cloves garlic, chopped
About 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 28-ounce can cannellini beans or chickpeas, drained
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 cup dry wine, red or white or 1 cup Italian beer
3 cups beef stock for beef-only chili or chicken stock for pork chili or beef and pork combined
Shredded provolone cheese
Finely chopped raw onion
Heat EVOO in pot over medium-high heat. Add pancetta, if using, brown to crisp then add fennel seeds. Add meat, brown and crumble, and season with salt and pepper.
Once the meat is browned well, add chili peppers, onions, garlic, fresh or dried oregano and cook until onions are translucent, 8-10 minutes more. Add beans and stir in tomato paste. Cook 1 minute until fragrant, then add wine or beer. Let the liquid cook down then stir in stock. Simmer to combine flavors.
Serve in bowls topped with cheese and basil or chopped onion.