Our Zesty Chorizo and chipotle peppers, along with tons of veggies, make this a new favorite chili in our house. It’s our go-to choice for a warm and hearty winter dish, and you can easily tailor the heat level by adjusting the amount of chipotle peppers. The chorizo itself is exactly as it sounds, it is definitely “zesty,” with a great amount of flavor, but not too spicy. (If you’ve tried our Hot Italian Sausage, it’s got less heat than that.) This recipe makes a huge batch, and feel free to play with the amount of spices, kale, and tomatoes to your liking.
Chorizo Chipotle Chili
2 lbs. Zesty Chorizo sausage, thawed
Extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 large bell pepper, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
Chipotle pepper in Adobo sauce, to taste*
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. oregano
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 bay leaves
1 lb. dried pinto beans or 2 30-ounce cans
2 28-oz. cans diced tomatoes**
1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
2-3 cups chopped kale***
2-3 cups water or broth
1/2 cup cornmeal or masa, optional
If using dried beans, soak the pinto beans according to the package directions, we usually soak them overnight. In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, heat a tablespoon or two of extra-virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add the chorizo and cook, breaking up the meat into small pieces. Drain any excess fat and add the onion, bell pepper and garlic. Cook for a few minutes and then add the Chipotle peppers, cumin, paprika, salt, pepper, oregano, sugar, and bay leaves. Mix well to let the seasonings cook with the meat for a minute, then add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for at least 1 hour or until beans are soft. For best results we let this simmer for a couple of hours. We start by adding just a bit of water, and add more as it cooks to adjust to desired consistency.
*Guidelines the Chipotle peppers:
Mild- half a pepper. Med- 1-2 peppers. Hot-2 or more peppers. Use at least 1 Tbsp of adobo sauce with the peppers. Start small, you can always add more at the end if you want more heat!
**Adjust tomatoes to taste. We currently have a debate in our house over the amount of tomatoes to use in this recipe – Andrew likes a LOT of tomatoes, but Callina thinks that the tomatoes overwhelm the chorizo and chipotle flavors, and would recommend using just 2 cans total, maybe even less than that. If you do use less tomatoes, be sure to use less sugar — you can add the sugar at the end and adjust it to taste.
***Adjust the kale to your taste. Andrew’s recipe calls for “2 big handfuls,” so you can use your judgment on how much to add. We chop it up finely to hide it better from the kids. It doesn’t add much for flavor to the recipe but it is a great way to sneak in more veggies and makes it look pretty.