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Mike Poole's Firehouse Chili

Serves 8 servings

Originally aired

INGREDIENTS
  • 3/4 pound bacon, diced
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 2 jalapeo peppers, seeded and diced
  • 2 red chili peppers, seeded and diced
  • 1 habanero pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 pounds beef chuck, cut in small, 1-inch cubes
  • 4 to 5 Louisiana hot links or spicy sausage links, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • A drizzle of EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil) if needed to brown the meat
  • 3 cups beef stock, divided
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 8 to 10 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dark roast coffee
  • 3 15-ounce cans pinto beans, drained
  • 1 cup tortilla chips, smashed in a re-sealable bag or food processor
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Cayenne pepper, to taste
  • For garnish:
  • Green onions, chopped
  • Grated cheddar cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Cilantro, chopped
PREPARATION

In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, cook bacon over medium-high heat until crispy. Remove bacon pieces to a paper towel-lined plate and drain off all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat, reserve this in a large skillet for browning the meat and sausage. Add the diced onions, crushed garlic, peppers to the Dutch oven and cook until soft, about 10-15 minutes.

Heat the reserved bacon fat in the skillet and brown the meat and sausage in an even layer, in batches to avoid crowding the pan, and reserve on a plate. If needed, add a couple turns of the pan of EVOO. Repeat with the remaining meat until all meat and sausage is cooked. Deglaze the bottom of the skillet with 1 cup of the beef stock, making sure to scrape up all the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Add this flavor-packed liquid to the Dutch oven when all the bits are scraped up.

Add the reserved meat to the cooking vegetables in the Dutch oven. Add the crushed tomatoes, seasonings and coffee. Add the remaining 2 cups of beef stock and the beans, bring up to a bubble and add the smashed tortilla chips. Reduce heat to medium-low for about an hour, until the meat is tender. Re-season with the red pepper flakes, salt, freshly ground black pepper and cayenne to your taste. To serve, garnish with the green onions, cilantro, cheddar cheese and sour cream.

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