Toby doesn’t cook much, but he does make chili. In fact, he was already an award-winning chili chef when I met him. Of course, the award may have had a little to do with the fact that the judges were Marines and the chili contains bourbon. But this chili IS good. And pretty easy to make.
We made the original recipe about a week before our Super Bowl party and thought it was good but a little boring. So Toby spiced it up with some sausage and red pepper, and it turned out awesome.
The recipe calls for “cooked spaghetti,” but Toby always uses a can of Chef Boyardee spaghetti and meatballs — which he chops up with scissors.
If you accidentally pour too much bourbon into the measuring cup, you can always just fix yourself a bourbon on the rocks (or a mint julep). And remember: bourbon comes from Kentucky. Everything else is just whiskey.
You do need to brown the meat and cook the onions and pepper in a skillet, but this chili really comes together in a slow cooker. And it’s even better the next day.
We served it with shredded cheese, oyster crackers and japaleno-cheddar cornbread. But it would also be great on nachos, on a hotdog or however you normally eat your chili.
1 small onion
2 cloves garlic
1 red pepper
3 spicy Italian sausages
2 lbs. ground beef
1 package chili seasoning
1 large can diced tomatoes
1 large can tomato paste
1 can water
2 large cans red kidney beans, drained
3/4 cup bourbon
1 can cooked spaghetti in sauce
dash of salt and dash of pepper
Chop onion, garlic and red pepper. Remove casings from sausage and roughly chop.
Brown the sausage in a large skillet over medium heat, then transfer sausage to slow cooker.
Cook onions and garlic for 1 minute in skillet, then add beef and chili powder and stir to combine. Brown beef, then transfer mixture to slow cooker.
Cook red pepper pieces in skillet until softened slightly, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to slow cooker.
Add diced tomatoes (and juice), tomato paste, water, kidney beans and bourbon to slow cooker. Use clean kitchen scissors to chop spaghetti in the can, then dump contents into slow cooker. Stir ingredients, then add dash of salt and pepper.
Cook in slow cooker on low heat for 2 to 3 hours, then serve.