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Italian Chili


I've made lots of ethnic chili variations over the years, and every fall I like to do at least one cause I loooove chili. I decided to try an Italian version, and much to my surprise, there were already lots of Italian chili versions out there. I guess I should have known cause it's sort of an obvious combo. As always in this sort of situation, I took some of the ideas out there and combined them with my own additions. My additions this time were using both dried chiles and dried mushrooms as the base flavors in the chili, and loading the soup with salami to add an amazing richness to the whole pot.

A quick note about sponsored posts. I posted a big one yesterday, and there will be more coming in the next few months as food companies try and get their product out for the holidays. I like sponsored posts because they help me find new inspiration and come up with creative recipes. But let's be honest, I also like sponsored posts cause I get paid. I promise you guys two things. First, I will always stay true to my blogging style and create unique fun recipes for you. Second, I will always post a sponsored post IN ADDITION to my regular schedule. Monday and Friday will always be original unsponsored content. Wednesdays will always be a Tablespoon post. On Tuesdays and Thursdays there will usually be nothing, but sometimes there will be a sponsored post, or with the cookbook coming out soon, there might be updates about the book or links to public appearances or other fun stuff. Anyways, enough housekeeping. Back to the deliciousness!

There's that chicken stock with chiles and mushrooms in it.

Just puree this into an awesome wet paste.

Peppers, onion, and sausage.

Followed by salami and garlic. Yup.

That mushroom chile paste goes in next. Then the tomatoes.

Seared beef.

Soaked beans.

And basil finish it off. Cook this for awhile until the beans are soft. About 2-3 hours.

Whoops! I tried to do this in a pressure cooker, but just before I achieved the pressure I noticed a burning smell. I pulled it off the heat and reduced the pressure. Once I opened it and poured it out I knew I had made the right choice! Luckily, the burn flavor had not yet permeated the rest of the soup.

So I just cooked it the old fashioned way. After the beans were about tender, some parm finished it off.

Coat the inside of a bowl with some polenta. mmmm.

Yea, this was fantastic.

So savory and warming. The salami flavor loomed over every bite, and mixing it with the polenta was reminiscent of a nice cornbread with a traditional chili.

1 qt chicken stock
5 oz dried crimini mushrooms
5 oz dried ancho chiles
3 28oz cans of diced tomatoes
1 pound spicy italian sausage
1 pound stewing beef
1/2 pound salami
3 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon chile flake
2 onions
1 green bell pepper
3 serrano chiles
1 cup parm
1 cup chopped basil
about 2 cups dried beans (I used cannellini, roman, and garbanzo)
cooked polenta for serving

Soak the beans overnight.
Prep and chop everything. Cut up the beef if you need to, because stewing beef often is a little bigger than you want it to be for chili. Make sure all the veggies and the salami are chopped and take the stems and seeds off the dried chiles. Microwave the chicken stock until it is very hot and add in the dried mushrooms and chiles. Allow to sit for 30 minutes and then puree it with a stick blender.

Sear the beef on all sides on high heat in oil and remove from the pan. Add in the sausage, peppers, and onions and saute for about 10 minutes. Add in the garlic, chile flake and salami and cook 3 minutes. Add in the chicken stock/chile/mushroom awesomeness. Also stir in the canned tomatoes. Add the beef back in. Add the basil and the beans. Simmer about 2 hours. Add in the parm and taste the beans. the chickpea is the one that will stay hardest the longest. Cook until the chickpeas are tender.
To serve, line a bowl with polenta and spoon in the chili. Top with some more parm.


Looks grand!

Wouldn't the mushroom stock have some grit from the dried criminis? Might it be a good idea to pull out the reconstituted chillis and mushrooms, sieve the stock, and then puree the lot?

This sounds really, really good. And I like how you served it with polenta.

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