Hearty Chili

 11 days until Christmas…

And the countdown carries on. But I tell you what, you certainly wouldn’t know Christmas was less than two weeks away after seeing the forecast here in Iowa.

A high of 51 degrees?!!! Rain?!!!! Last year at this time we had a snow storm that kept me bundled up inside my super tiny apartment. I feel like we have hit the lottery! Instead of freezing my bee-hind off going outside in the mornings, I almost have to pinch myself to believe I am in Iowa. This weather certainly brings me back to the good times in Denver when the temps would reach the 50’s during the day. But regardless of the weather being unseasonably warm for December, Jake wanted to make some hearty chili Sunday night. And how could I say no. Not having to lift a finger for a homemade dinner sounded good to me.

The last several batches of chili Jake has made have been from Dave and Sarah’s recipe over at 1cupawesome. Their best chili ever is no joke. Super delicious. This Sunday however, Jake wanted to switch things up a bit and try something new.  After church on Sunday, we hopped on over to Penzey’s spices and picked up their latest chili spice.

Once at home, Jake did a little internet searching and found a wonderful recipe to test his new spice out with.  This particular chili recipe grabbed Jake’s attention not only because it won the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley, California 2005  chili cook off, but also for the recipe calling for only one can of beans.  Yes, you read the correctly… ONE can of beans. I have never heard of such a thing, but hey, it works.  And pretty well at that. I wish I could take credit for this super hearty chili, but all credit goes to its creator, Clay Erikson.

Clay’s Colossal Chili

Adapted from The Spice House


  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  •  1 1/2 pounds George’s ground beef (purchased at Gateway Market)
  •  1 1/2 pounds George’s mild italian sausage (purchased at Gateway Market)
  • 1 cup green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cups yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup Pinor Nior red wine
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans stewed tomatoes
  • 1 (29 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 Tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin
  • 4 Tablespoons Penzey’s Chili 9000
  • 1 bay leave, crushed
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 (14 ounce) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained


  1. In a skillet, brown the ground beef and Italian sausage. Drain and set aside.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a soup pot.  Add the diced peppers and onions to the pot.  Saute on medium heat for 5 minutes.
  3. Add wine to red pepper and onion mix. Simmer over medium heat until the sauce reduces and the vegetables become translucent.
  4. Add ground beef and italian sausage to the pot.
  5. Add stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, brown sugar, salt, cumin, chili 9000,  ground bay leaves and water. Mix well with wooden spoon.
  6. Bring to a boil.
  7. Reduce heat and simmer for approximately 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  8. Add kidney beans. Allow to simmer for another 30 minutes.
  9. Serve with shredded cheese and other favorite chili toppings.

This chili makes a massive amount. But no worries, it is that good that you will have no problem eating it all week for leftovers. At least we haven’t.


4 thoughts on “Hearty Chili

  1. Joyful Girl & Debbie Cisneros,

    You probably weren’t expecting a reply from the “Original” creator of Clay’s Colossal Chili, but here I am. I’m glad to hear that Jake decided to take a venture into the Web-World and track down my chili recipe. I have received numerous emails about other folks who have entered my chili recipe and ended up walking away with 1st Place. Debbie, I hope you had/made time time to make my chili as well and you were equally satisfied with the end result. Please let me know.

    If you guys liked my chili, then you should go to my website at: http://www.clayscolossalchili.com and try some of my seasoning blends. I have a New Orland Blend, Jambalaya Blend, Herb Roasted Meat Rub blend and of course my Clay’s Colossal Chili blend. I will supply you with some proven recipes that go with those blends.

    Take care gals and hope to hear from you soon.

    Chef Clay

    • Thanks so much for contacting me Chef Clay. Yes, we LOVED your chili recipe and plan to make it again and again. I will be sure to check out some of your seasoning blends you have as well!

  2. Hi Libby,

    What I didn’t mention in the previous post is that for every. Jar of seasoning blend (doesn’t matter which one) that I sell online from my website, I donate $1.00 to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. So now when you use my blend(s) on your favorite dishes, not only are you making them yummy, but you’re helping a child that’s been stricken with that horrible disease called cancer.

    Hope to hear from you soon.

    Chef Clay

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