Penny’s Irish Chili

2 lb ground beef
1 large onion diced small
4 cloves chopped garlic OR 1 tblsp minced garlic
1 large can (28 oz) tomato sauce
1 small can Ro-Tel Tomato & Peppers (Medium) OR 1 small bottle Spicy V-8
1 can diced peeled tomatoes
1 diced green Bell pepper
4 beef bullion cubes dissolved in a cup of boiling water
1 bottle of Guinness Extra Stout
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tblsp ground cumin
1 tblsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cayenne pepper OR red pepper flakes

2 cans red beans or kidney beans (Optional: purists may omit.)

About 1/4 c. olive oil, adequate for cooking with
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Equipment:
All usual measuring cups and spoons
Large skillet
Large slow-cooker

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Possible substitutions/variations:

Half and half ground beef/ground pork (to same amount).
Mild Italian sausage may also be used to make up the amount.
Coarsely chopped beef may also be used instead of standard ground chuck
(This recipe should work well with most meats, including goat, ostrich, or buffalo. Venison and other game meats may be too strong, special game-meat chili recipes should be used for those.)

Ro-Tel/Spicy V-8 may be replaced with more exotic peppers: serrano or rocatillo are medium-hots that should serve well. The very hot peppers should be avoided as they will completely overpower the flavors of the chili itself. Ghost peppers are for barroom betting only.

A tablespoon of Bovril may replace the boullion cubes, or about 2 cups of plain beef stock. Using stock wil require a longer time for the batch to cook down to a desireable consistency. Also, if you use stock, add a tsp. or two of salt to taste. The boullion adds saltiness.

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Preparation

Brown your meat(s) on a high flame in a portion of your olive oil, and drain. Cook well if using sausage (to get the fat out.) Add a little more olive oil (about a tblsp. should be adequate), and cook your onion and garlic until they start to brown. Set aside.

Put tomato sauce, tomatoes, green pepper, Ro-Tel, bullion, and Guiness into a large slow-cooker, turned to High. (You may do this first so there is no delay.) After the mix has warmed a bit, add in the brown sugar and dry spices. Once this mixture is up to temperature, add in the meat/onion/garlic from the skillet, let it come up to temperature again, and finally add in the beans.

Let your chili now stay at High heat for about an hour, then turn down to Low. Ideally, you will be able to let this cook away for at least another 4 hours, then set it aside to rest overnight in the refrigerator. In an emergency, it should be adequate after 2 hours, or when it has cooked down to desired consistency. Remember, if you are skittish about hot and spicy, you may want to hold back on adding in all the peppery ingredients at once; maybe start with about half, then add in later as it cooks down and you have a better idea of how it is coming out. It’s much easier to ADD a kick to it than to take it out! However, this should most suit most tastes without leaving people gasping for breath. Serves 6 to 8.

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