3 Bean 3 Meat 3 Pepper Chili
I’m really not picky about it and will try anything from vegetarian to all-meat, or a nice all-day crockpot chili to something quick in a can (that one’s more nostalgia than anything, though). Really, I have yet to try one that I haven’t liked.
But you know what really sucks? My family are not chili fans. There isn’t much food-related that makes me sadder than hearing “Chili? UGH!” when I announce what’s for dinner.
Until I started making this one last month, and we’ve had it every two weeks since with no complaints.
This recipe is originally called 3-3-3 Chili and is from the February 2012 issue of Woman’s Day magazine. It won the Best Beef Chili for the magazine’s chili cook off, and I think it’s well-deserved.
If you give this a try, make sure you give yourself at least two hours to make it before you’re ready to eat. There’s also a lot going on so be prepared to be tied to the stove for a bit.
I highly recommend using a splatter screen for this one. You’ve got a lot of meat doing its thing and your stove will be an awful mess when you’re done. I’ve been through many screens over the years, and this one is the best I’ve found. It’s sturdy, has a very fine mesh, fits over all my pots and pans, and best of all it fits in the dishwasher.
Did I mention there’s a lot of meat?
The recipe calls for 8 oz of hot Italian sauage, but I used six ounces of sweet Italian sausage and six ounces of hot (half a package of each). Italian sausage was on sale that week with a buy one get one free, and I wasn’t sure how well hot-only would go over. It was perfect.
The recipe also calls for three cups of water, but I use two cups of water and two cups of beef broth. This makes the perfect amount for the five of us plus enough left over for Mike to take to work the next day. (It wasn’t watery, either.)
Once I finally have everything in the pot for the final 55 minutes of cooking, I make cornbread muffins. I like to sprinkle a little bit of coarse sugar over them before baking.
5 slices bacon, cut into ½-in. pieces
1 pound beef chuck, trimmed and cut into ½-in. pieces
8 ounces hot Italian sausage, casings removed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
Kosher salt and pepper
1 green bell pepper, cut into ¼-in. pieces
1 jalapeño (seeded, if desired), finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon pickled jalapeño juice (optional)
1 chile de arbol pepper, crushed, or ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1 15 ounce can pinto beans, rinsed
1 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed
1 15 ounce can kidney beans, rinsed
Cook the bacon in a large saucepan over medium heat until crisp, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel–lined plate.
Add the beef to the pan and cook until browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a second plate and set aside. Pour off any liquid and return the pan to medium heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking it up with a spoon, until no longer pink, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the sausage to the plate with the beef.
Wipe out the pan and heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and ½ tsp salt and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the bell pepper and jalapeño and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are just tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Add the crushed tomatoes, Tabasco, chili powder, cumin, jalapeño juice (if using), ½ tsp each salt and pepper, and 3 cups water and bring to a boil. Return the beef and sausage to the pan add the chile de arbol (or cayenne) and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
Add the beans and reserved bacon and simmer, uncovered, until thickened, 45 to 55 minutes more. Serve with the cheese, avocado, radishes and tortillas, if desired.