Spicy Sausage Chili for These Cold, Cold Days

In our neck of the woods, the past few days have been downright blustery. From upper 90s and sunshine last week to lower 60s and rain this week, Fort Wayne seems to have skipped from summer right to winter. Okay, it’s not that cold, but it’s cold enough for us to crave a spicy-hot bowl of chili, so that’s just what Jon made last night. Using some spicy Italian sausage we had picked up and intended to use for something else, and after a brief internet search (yes, Jon simply Googled Italian Sausage Chili), we landed on Emeril’s Sausage Chili. As is his way, Jon made a few adjustments according to our tastes and the resulting dish was the perfect accompaniment to a warm blanket and a bad movie on the Hallmark channel. This chili is packed full of spices and textures that work well with the soft sweetness of the cornbread. Perhaps not my favorite chili, it’s definitely one to keep on the radar for the even colder days ahead.

The cornbread is nothing special—just the Jiffy cornbread mix—a quick and easy, but must have, companion for our piping hot bowl of beans and spices.



  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds spicy, ground Italian sausage
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onions
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon Emeril’s Essence
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 (12-ounce) bottle dark beer
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, crushed, and their juices
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 6 cups cooked white beans, drained and rinsed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese, garnish
  • 1 cup finely chopped green onions, garnish
  • Sour cream

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Add the onions, garlic, chili powder, Essence, and cumin and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 4 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the beer and cook until the foam subsides, about 1 minute.

Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, and beans to the pot. Stir well and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the chili from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.

Remove from the heat. To serve, ladle into bowls or thick cups. Sprinkle each serving with grated cheese and green onions, add a dollop of sour cream and serve hot.


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