Our Halloween party tradition started years ago when our house was the place where everyone in the neighborhood ended up after trick-or-treating. The kids spread out on the floor to count their candy, while the adults ate chili and drank wine and beer. Our kids are grown up now and make their own plans, but we still have the party and all the parents show up. No matter how much I make I never end up with leftovers. This is why our chili party happens several times a year now, not just on Halloween.
Through the years I experimented, using parts of different chili recipes adding my own favorite ingredients, changing quantities, etc., until one night when my guests said, “You can stop now. This is the best one yet-- write this down!” So no more changes. This is my favorite chili for a party... any time of year.
fiesta chili (for a party!)
This chili is thick, rich and packed with flavor! It's comfort food to the max, easy to make and you can get creative with the ingredients. My own Latin take on this recipe includes an herb called culantro and adding raw garlic as a final touch.
Serve it up in a bowl with your favorite toppings and a side of sourdough bread or over baked potatoes! And if you do have any left, it freezes well.
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 lbs yellow onions, chopped
1 lb mild Italian sausage, casings removed
1 lb hot Italian sausage, casings removed
9 lbs ground beef chuck
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
2 tbsp black pepper
4 small cans of tomato paste
1 cup of minced fresh garlic, divided
4 oz ground cumin
4 oz chili powder
½ cup of dijon mustard
3 tbsp of salt
4 tbsp of dried oregano
4 tbsp of dried basil
6 culantro* leaves, chopped
6 2-pound cans of chopped tomatoes
1 cup of any red wine
½ cup of lemon juice
1 cup of fresh chopped dill
1 cup of fresh chopped parsley
5 16-ounce cans of pinto beans drained
cheddar cheese, shredded
your favorite hot sauce
In a very large soup pot on low heat begin with the olive oil, add the onions and jalapeno pepper and cook for 10 minutes or until tender.
Add the sausage meat and ground chuck into the pot and cook over medium-high heat. Use a sturdy wooden spoon or something similar to stir the meats until they’re browned. Spoon out as much of the excess fat as possible.
Stir in the black pepper, tomato paste, half the garlic, cumin, chili powder, mustard, salt, basil, oregano and culantro leaves. Add the tomatoes, wine, lemon juice, dill, parsley and beans.
Stir and simmer for an hour. Salt again to taste. Add the rest of the raw garlic and stir. Serve and add toppings.
*No, it’s not a typo. Culantro is not cilantro misspelled. It’s a tropical herb with long serrated leaves and a strong aromatic scent. It’s commonly used in the West Indies, Latin America and Asian countries. It’s also my secret weapon in many Latin dishes.Although this recipe is for 40, trust me, people will return for seconds. When my party is large I make two batches simultaneously. With all that stirring it’s a great arm workout to brown all the meat!