I have a few recipes that are on our regular rotation when I need to make dinner in a hurry. Chili with Brats is on the list. It’s quick and easy and everyone loves it. You can make it with or without the Brats, and it makes a mean pot of leftovers too!
My first memory of eating chili and loving it was when my little brother played Pee-Wee football at the old Chico football field on Saturday afternoon. I loved buying Frito Pie for lunch. Frito pie consisted of: 1.Frito’s 2.Chili (probably canned) 3.Grated cheese on top. I remember the chili was made with small red beans, and I loved it. It was different than my Mom’s chili. Dad loved Kidney beans, so my mom always used Kidney beans in her chili.
My basic recipe for Chili with Brats can be altered to cater to your taste. If you like ground sausage or ground turkey, replace the ground beef with either or both. You can leave the brats out as well, or double the brats. You can spice it up as much as you want, I always made a mild version, because kids and spice usually don’t mix very well.
I like the green chili sauce (below) , it’s chunky with onions, tomatoes and roasted chilies. You can use any brand, or if you can’t find green sauce, add some fresh green chilies or a can of chopped green chilies. My favorite way to enjoy Chili with Brats is with a pan of cornbread. I just posted a recipe for Green Chile and Cheese Cornbread that is the perfect side for a big pot of Chili. My boys always love eating the leftover chili on top of hot dogs and buns, topped with lots of grated cheese. Two meals out of one dish is always a big win in my book!
Chili with Brats
- 3-4 *Bratwurst
- 1 lb ground beef, extra lean
- 1-2 onions, chopped
- 1 green pepper, chopped (optional)
- 1-2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1-2 cloves chopped garlic
- 3 15 oz. cans small red beans, drained
- 2 14.5 oz. cans chopped tomatoes, with juices
- 1/2 jar 16 oz medium green chili sauce (if it's mild, I throw the whole jar in)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Salt, ground pepper
- Cook the Bratwurst in a pan on medium high heat, turning once. After brown on both sides, add a little water to the pan - about 1/4 cup, and cover. Let steam for 8 minutes. Remove to cutting board. Let sit.
- Cook ground meat in large heavy pan. Drain any grease, add chopped onions, pepper and cook until onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add chili powder, cumin and chopped garlic. Season generously with salt and pepper.
- Add the drained cans of beans, chopped tomatoes, green chili sauce and sugar. If you like a thicker chili, add a can of tomato sauce or some tomato paste. Slice the Bratwurst, add to the pot. Cook for several hours, covered on stove top- low heat.
- I usually double this amount.-*You can substitute any type of sausage - ground or Polish, Italian...it's all good. If you live in or around Utah, I recommend Colosimo's Sausage. They make great Bratwurst, and other flavors of sausage. They have been making sausage since the early 1920's, and they produce a great product free of unmentionable fillers usually found in sausage. -Slow cooking a roast- pork or beef, then shredding or dicing it into the chili is great too. Or cut the roast into small pieces, brown and season and throw all of the ingredients into a dutch oven or crock pot and cook for 10 hours on low heat.- Beans - you may use canned, or soak and cook some of the 10, 000 pounds of beans you have in your food storage. Any combo - I have tried black, red, chili (which I think are pintos), butter beans (icky), or white.-This is best when cooked for at least 6-8 hours on low heat or dumped into slow cooker after the meats are cooked.