This chili for a crowd was handed down to me by my aunt, who said she got it from a "grizzled Montana mountain man." I added some zesty ingredients to come up with the final version. Hot food is something that my husband's family isn't accustomed to, so I adjust the spices for them. In fact, with a few simple alterations to the "heat" index, I can serve this chili to anyone. —Lisa Humphreys, Wasilla, Alaska
4 cans (16 ounces each) kidney beans or 4 cans (15 ounces each) pinto beans or black beans, rinsed and drained
1 pound smoked kielbasa, sliced and halved
2 large onions, halved and thinly sliced
2 cans (8 ounces each) tomato sauce
2/3 cup hickory-flavored barbecue sauce
1-1/2 cups water
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
5 fresh banana peppers, seeded and sliced
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground mustard
2 teaspoons instant coffee granules
1 teaspoon each dried oregano, thyme and sage
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 garlic cloves, minced
In an 8-qt. stockpot or Dutch oven, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink, 5-7 minutes; crumble beef; drain.
Stir in the remaining ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Test Kitchen Tips
It’s important to drain and rinse canned beans because the thick, cloudy liquid inside often contains excess sodium and starch. Doing this can improve the taste, texture and nutritional content of a dish.
Chili powder is a seasoning blend made primarily from dried chili peppers. Other ingredients commonly include garlic, onion, salt, oregano, cumin, coriander, cloves, cinnamon and even cocoa powder.