As the cold weather continues, I thought I would share another favorite comfort food recipe, this time for chili. I found this easy recipe many years ago and have modified it somewhat to suit my taste. I increased the amount of carrots and onions for a healthier level of vegetables and added a can of sliced black olives for flavor enhancement. This can be served topped with shredded cheese or a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt, but none of these are necessary. The recipe calls for hot sausage, but mild or a mixture of the two may be used instead -- just make sure the sausage is highly seasoned as most of the flavor comes from this ingredient. If you cannot find bulk sausage, buy links and remove the casing by slitting it along the length of the sausage and peeling it off. I use no salt added tomatoes and tomato sauce. Corn muffins or cheese toast are the perfect accompaniment to this chili.
Italian Black Bean Chili
16 oz. bulk hot Italian sausage
8 oz. peeled baby carrots, sliced or chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 cans (15 oz. each) black beans, undrained
1 can (10.5 oz.) condensed beef broth, plus 1/2 can water
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1 can (15 oz.) diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1 can (4 oz.) sliced black olives
Brown sausage in large skillet until barely pink. Stir in carrots and onions and brown completely (if you use a nonstick skillet you should not need extra fat, but if you do add some olive oil). Add remaining ingredients except olives. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Uncover and simmer one hour. Stir in olives and remove bay leaves. Serves 6.
Note: This is even better when cooled and reheated.