There are few recipes out there that can deliver the same gut-warming, stomach filling satisfaction a good bowl of chili can. Chili is one of those dishes that is surprisingly easy to make, and once you master the basics, you can adjust to meet just about any palate.
Personally, when I make chili, I like to do so with the soft tender meat of the less fortunate…but of course, I know, for you mere mortals, the majority of your chili will be more carne and less carnage than my own…which is why I’m giving you this recipe with the socially acceptable substitutions of beef.
We’re also going to make something extra special for this recipe…skinless chicken sausage skulls. This part of the recipe involves a little science and a dash of molecular magic, but the end results are well worth the added effort.
BEFORE WE GET STARTED, I SHOULD LET YOU KNOW, **THIS POST CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS.
First, let’s gather our main chili ingredients.
To make your own chili con carnage, you will need:
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 lb diced beef stew meat
- 1/2 yellow onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed and diced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 can beef stock
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 2 tablespoons Kashmir chili (you can substitute regular chili powder or cayenne as well)
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1 small can tomato paste
- 14oz can red kidney beans
- 14oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons extra dark cocoa powder
- 1.25 oz (1 package) McCormick Original Chili Powder – 1 Tablespoon
To make your chili base:
In a saucepan over medium high heat, saute your diced onions until translucent and golden, about 3-5 minutes. Add in your garlic and continue to saute for another 2-3 minutes.
Transfer to your crockpot and return your pan to the heat.
Add in your ground beef and cook until brown. Scoop out of your pan using a slotted spoon, making sure you leave the grease in the pan. Transfer your cooked ground beef to your crockpot.
Add your diced stew meat to the left over ground beef grease and again, cook until brown. Just before your beef cubes are done cooking, deglaze the pan with your red wine, cooking and stirring constantly for another 2-3 minutes. Drain and add the cooked meat to your crockpot. Save 1/4 cup of your red wine infused grease and add that to the crockpot as well.
Add in all your spices minus the 1 Tablespoon of McCormick chili powder. You’ll need that for the chicken sausage.
Pour in your beef broth, add in your cocoa powder, your brown sugar, your tomatoes and your beans. Cover your slow cooker, and set to 4-6 hours. While it might be done in 2 hours, the longer it cooks, the deeper and more integrated the flavor. I suggest tasting it as you go.
Now, if we were simply making chili, this would be the end of the recipe. Congratulations, you’re done…if you’re boring!
But we’re not! We’re cooking with the Devil so let’s add some CARNAGE to that Chili!
To make our skinless chicken sausages, we’re going to take a step back from the normal and cross over into the world of molecular gastronomy and science (and everyone knows the Devil loves science!) and work with a product called transglutaminase.
Transglutaminase, also known as meat glue, is an enzyme that is used to bind proteins together. Transglutaminase naturally occurs in organisms like plants, animals, and yes…even you walking meatbags, humans.
Transglutaminase is safe to cook with and eat…and has been approved by the US Food & Drug Administration as so. However, as it is a binding agent, you do need to be careful when working with it. Transglutaminase is sold in powder form, and as such, should not be breathed in. Always work with TG in a safe environment where the possibility of it being exposed to wind or a breeze is zero. Avoid breathing in TG dust and always wash your hands after use.
So where do you get transglutaminase? I picked up mine from the Modernist Pantry here. It’s a bit pricey, but a little bit goes a long way…and once you use it, you’ll want to use it again and again!
To make your skinless chicken sausages you will need:
- 1 lb ground chicken
- 1 tablespoon of the McCormick chili powder we saved from the chili recipe above
- 1.5 oz transglutaminase powder
- 1/4 cup water
- brown food coloring
You will also need a good skull baking pan that is oven safe. I personally love this one. Give it a good spritz with cooking spray.
Preheat your oven to 350F/176C.
In a food processor, mix together your chicken and chili powder and blend well. Mix your transglutaminase with a tablespoon of water and add that to the chicken as well.
Now we’re going to add enough water to create a thick slurry. With your food processor going, drizzle in your water a little at a time until you get the consistency just slightly thicker than a really thick milkshake (mmm…chicken milk shakes).
Using a spoon, scoop your slurry out of your food processor and fill your skull baking pans. 1 lb of chicken filled 5 of the 6 skulls up about 1/2 way each.
Tap your pan on your table to help shake out any air bubbles and then pop into the oven to cook for about 25 minutes.
As it cooks, the skulls will shrink by about 1/3. You will be able to tell they’re done when the top is a crusty golden and they feel firm to the touch…almost springy.
After cooking…you can see how much they’ve shrunk.
Turn your pan upside down and they should pop right out.
Feel free to add some depth to their features using a little brown food coloring and water.
To serve your chili con carnage, scoop up a healthy scoop of your chili into a bowl. Top with a skinless chicken sausage skull and embellish with some cornbread crossbones. Sprinkle with grated cheese, fresh diced onions, and sour cream if you’d like.
While this chili is delicious the day you make it, it’s even better the next day. As for how it is on day three…I can’t tell you…it’s never lasted that long!
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