Nothing warms the belly quite like a big, bubbling pot of my Red Black Chorizo Chili. This recipe was honed in the professional kitchen, where I rarely write things down and a deal in quantities much larger than your average family meal, where I weigh ingredients, instead of measuring them. So for the purposes of this post, I had to make this spicy sausage stew family style, and actually take notes. (It was exhausting. I needed snacks… and a nap!)
OK, fine, it wasn’t that hard. But if you’re in the mood for a mid-winter nap, this may be the perfect dish because once you’re done with all the chopping and spicing, it cooks while you nap! I love passive cooking. In the dead of winter braising is your best friend. Sear, then cook low and slow. In our household this makes use of our collection of cocottes. It can be just as easily made in a large pot with a nice, thick bottom or your slow cooker.
Blogging on Budget
This recipe marks my return to blogging on Food Gypsy after taking a step back for a year or so. Sometimes it’s good to set a project aside and come back to it with fresh eyes. What do you like? What do you want to change? What works? What feels too much like work? Where is your passion – now? Is it in the story? The recipe? The photography? Are you pushing/growing/learning? Where is the value for the reader? Good questions for any blogger. I’m not sure I have all the answers, I know I love sharing my passion for great cuisine but I’m tired for trying to make it work. I’m tired of “crushing it”. Frankly, crushing it, crushed me.
Most food blogs are long on story. The story of the day – how their kid barfed all night and how tired they are. Or how amazing their morning is as they looked out over the lake and a loon cried softly in the distance. You know what I do? I skip all that drivel and head straight to the recipe. Honestly, who has time for that?!
I’m not your typical food blogger. I don’t live a picture perfect life, fueled by an endless bank account. I don’t have time for the countless webinars and Tweet-ups. I don’t have my kitchen rigged for weekly Facebook live broadcasts. The food props you see are the tools of my trade and/or my home kitchen. I don’t have a spare bedroom that doubles as a studio. I don’t spend my days researching keywords (between filtered Insta posts) and direct trend with recipes involving charcoal… and cauliflower. (I cook over charcoal, not with it.)
We live well, but humbly in a sweet little apartment in a fabulous old house – where there’s no spare bedroom and no studio. I shoot in front of a north facing window in our kitchen because that’s the best light. (For each shoot I drive the chef in my life mad as I move the contents of that entire corner to our kitchen table.) We keep our family life private – though our careers are often public – because the kid is not a ‘lifestyle accessory’ for my blog.
And last but not least, our family is subject to a monthly budget, just like most of you.
Let’s Talk Food
Budget conscious recipes that stretch my grocery dollar are my favorite weekend meals. Nothing like a great soup or stew, like this Red Black Chorizo Chili, to clear out the fridge of all the little bits of onion and dried up ends of garlic and soggy tomatoes past their prime. The big expense is the chorizo, but overall this is a cheap, one pot meal for under $15. Perfect for game day. (Go Ottawa Redblacks! But you know I still love you Calgary Stampeders, right?!) This chili also freezes well and keeps hungry teens happy.
Alternative serving suggestions; try Red Black Chorizo Chili with your favorite cornbread recipe. Melt it under cheese on nachos. Use it as a hot dip for corn chips. Or my current favorite application, top off a baked sweet potato with a little chorizo Chili, and call that lunch.
Packed with protein, it’s good fuel and it won’t break the family budget, which leaves more money for wine. Life without wine is hardly worth living.
1 – 28 fl oz (796 ml) can of whole tomatoes, crushed
Salt to taste
Prep all ingredients. Unsheathe and chop sausage. Dice your onion, peppers and tomato. Crush or fine chop garlic, drain your beans, open tomatoes and reserve.
In a large oven proof pot over medium-high heat start heat olive oil, then add sausage, string to brown lightly without sticking. Add onions and sweat lightly, about 3 minutes then add garlic and cook for 2 minutes or so, stirring with a wooden spoon. Next add peppers and tomatoes along with cumin, chili powder, chilies and black pepper and season with a light amount of salt (see note below on seasoning stews and soups)stir to combine. Finally, add canned tomatoes and stir. Reduce heat to medium and allow chili to come to a boil.
While your Red Black Chorizo Chili comes to a slow boil, re-heat oven to 325⁰F (165⁰C). Once bubbling, cover and place in oven for 60 minutes to cook, stirring once or twice to avoid burning. STOVE TOP METHOD: reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for up to 90 minutes.
Once all ingredients are well stewed and flavour is infused – taste. Adjust seasoning and moisture as needed. Serve immediately or… hold, covered at room temperature for up to 2 hours then heat to boiling and serve.
Note: When seasoning soups or stews keep in mind the reduction factor and use salt sparingly until the final stages then season to taste. This will help avoid the dish being too salty. Rule of thumb with salt: once it’s in… you can’t take it out. Taste THEN season.
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Cooking in her home kitchen just outside Ottawa, Canada; Cori Horton is a food photographer, recipe blogger and Food Business Consultant. A Cordon Bleu-trained Chef, Cori spent five years as the owner of Nova Scotia's Dragonfly Inn, ten years in catering, and has been sharing all things delicious - right here - since 2010.