All that said, yes, I do want to come to your Super Bowl party. I have no idea who’s playing whom (nor do I care), but I am very much interested in what snacks you’ll be serving. Oh yes, I love game day food. Chips, guacamole, salsa, buffalo chicken, weirdly delicious Double Chocolate Fritos Cookies–whatever you’ve got on the buffet table, I. am. interested.
Chili is arguably the ultimate game day food. Spicy, meaty, and good with just about anything (especially this Southern-Style Cornbread), it’s a total crowd pleaser. Chili can be made a million different ways, but this version, made with beef and chorizo, is my favorite. It came to be on a fridge-cleaning night three years ago, and its combination of unusual ingredients really make it something special. In this chili, you’ll find:
- Mushrooms. Here they provide a little nutrition and also infuse the chili with their meaty umami flavor, just like they do in my Bolognese. Have mushroom haters in your family? Don’t fret–they’re diced small here and browned to the point that they blend in with everything else.
- Cocoa Powder. It’s used as part of the spice blend in this chili, along with the usual cumin, chili powder, oregano, and cayenne. This small dose of cocoa will not make your finished product taste like chocolate–it’s just there for a little depth.
- Soy Sauce. Like the mushrooms, the soy sauce is here for its umami flavor. It’s also here to even out the flavor, and precludes the need for any extra seasoning.
Those ingredients might sound strange, but when they come together with the beef, chorizo, and aromatics, they make some seriously amazing chili. One thing you won’t find in this recipe? Beans. They’re not traditionally a part of chili (in my native Texas, at least). I won’t tell anybody if you add a can or two of drained, rinsed pinto beans though. I am all for anything that keeps me from having to make a side dish.
Beef & Chorizo Chili
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 pound ground beef
1/2 pound fresh raw chorizo, removed from casings
10 ounces cremini mushrooms, diced small
1 large white onion, diced small
1 red bell pepper, diced small
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
4 cups low-sodium beef broth
2 chipotles in adobo, minced + 1 Tbsp of the sauce
1 Tbsp soy sauce
2 cups + 2 Tbsp water, divided
1 Tbsp corn meal
grated cheddar cheese, for serving
Heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Brown beef and chorizo, breaking them up as necessary, until very brown (about 20 minutes). Remove the meat to a paper towel-lined plate, reserving two tablespoons of fat in the pan.
Add mushrooms to the pan and brown, stirring frequently, for about 15 minutes. Do not burn. Remove to a plate.
Add onion and red bell pepper to the pot and brown for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic and cook about 1 minute or until fragrant.
Reduce heat to medium. Return meat and mushrooms to the pot. Stir in cumin, chili powder, oregano, cocoa powder, and cayenne. Add tomato paste and stir to coat. Allow everything to cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes. Add beef broth. Bring the pot to a boil before reducing the heat. Allow chili to simmer until the liquid is reduced by half. Stir occasionally.
Add chipotle adobo sauce, soy sauce, and 2 cups of water. Allow chili to continue simmering until liquid has reduced by half, stirring occasionally.
In a small bowl, whisk together cornmeal and 2 tablespoons of water. Once chili has reduced, stir in cornmeal mixture and cook for an additional five minutes, until thickened slightly. Remove pot from heat.
Serve chili in shallow bowls. Top with grated cheddar cheese, if desired. Leftover chili will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days.