David's Favorite Recipes

Sweet Sausage Chili



In a large nonstick sauté pan, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Working in two or three batches add the sausage and cook until evenly browned, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon. Set aside in a clean bowl. In the same way, use brown the ground beef in the mixture of oil and fat left in the pan, and add it to the browned sausage.

In a large stockpot, heat the remaining oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, chili powders, and cumin and sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes longer.

Add the sausage and beef to the stockpot along with the beef consommé, chicken stock, port wine, and kidney beans. Stir well and cook at medium heat for about 30 minutes. Then, stir in the marinara sauce or crushed tomatoes and the sugar and cook over medium-low heat for 45 minutes longer, stirring occasionally.

To serve, ladle the chili into bowls and pass shredded cheese and sour cream for guests to garnish each serving to taste.

It seems that every good cook has his or her own special chili recipe to serve to a crowd on a cold night. This version is by far our favorite, as the sweet sausage and port wine complement the strength of the chili powders. And it doesn’t even take all day to make!


6 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds sweet pork sausage, bulk or casings removed
1 pound ground beef
2 large yellow onions, diced
2 tablespoons minced garlic
6 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ancho chili powder (optional)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 (10-ounce) can beef consommé or beef stock
1 cup The Essential Homemade Chicken Stock (page 26), or good-quality canned chicken stock or broth
1 cup port wine
3 (16-ounce) cans red kidney beans, drained
2 (24-ounce) jars good-quality marinara sauce or crushed tomatoes
4 tablespoons sugar
1 Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
2 cups sour cream