This is my famous Chili Cookoff winning recipe! The key ingredient is the Italian sausage which adds the extra flavor that can’t be matched. On a few occasions, I have used ground beef instead of sausage, but it only yielded a 2nd or 3rd place ranking. If you do decide to use ground beef, I recommend using 1 1/2 or 2 chili seasoning packets.
2 lbs. ground Italian sausage
1 chili seasoning packet
1 sweet onion, chopped
28 ozs. crushed tomatoes
8 ozs. tomato sauce
10 ozs. diced tomatoes with green chiles
2 – 15 oz. cans kidney beans, drained
Chili powder, to taste
Brown the sausage and onion in a skillet. Drain off excess fat. Put all of the ingredients in your crockpot and stir well. I prefer to make this the night before and store the crock in the refrigerator (it gives the chili a thicker consistency), but you can do it either way.
The next morning, I put the crock back into the base, turn it on low, and cook for 7 to 8 hours. Add extra chili powder, to taste during cooking, if needed.
Serve with mini corn muffins, sour cream, and grated cheese on the side. Whether you’re entering a chili cookoff or bringing this to a potluck, you’ll be a winner either way!