"I won a chili cook off with this recipe and even though the list of ingredients may seem long, every ingredient is necessary in this amazing chili. A favorite of my family and friends, I've written this recipe for a mild-medium heat flavor so that you can adjust the heat level according to your taste. Buon Appetito!"
In an extra-large Dutch oven, (8 qt), over medium-high heat, begin browning cubed meat, ground beef, and pork sausage in bacon grease or oil. Add chopped vegetables, except garlic. Sprinkle the meat with a little salt & pepper and cook down until ground meats are cooked and vegetables are tender. Stir frequently until ready then remove from heat.
Place a large, paper towel lined colander over a bowl and spoon meat mixture into the colander to drain and discard the grease. *DON'T scrape the bits from the bottom of the pot.
Over medium heat add chili stick and meat/vegetable mixture, then stir until chili stick starts to break down and soften. Add diced tomatoes with juice, tomato paste & sauce to chili stick and mix well, scraping bits from bottom of pot. Continue stirring frequently for about 15 minutes.
Stir in the water and bouillon, beer, minced garlic, chili powder, bay leaves, chives, Lea & Perrin, remaining dry seasonings, except for salt & pepper. If you like the flavor of cumin, add it to your taste; if you don't, leave it out!
Turn heat to low, cover and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours, sirring frequently to avoid sticking. If it seems to need more liquid just add a little water, beer or tomato juice, (I like V-8).
Taste for seasoning and add salt, pepper, cayenne, cajun seasoning, etc. as needed according to your taste.
Last, add beans and cook on low another 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Taste again for seasonings and adjust as needed.
Serve in individual bowls with corn bread muffins and choice of garnishes for topping. Enjoy!
Recommended Garnishes: sour cream, finely chopped white or red onion, thinly sliced green onions, sliced or diced fresh or pickled jalapeno peppers, grated sharp cheddar cheese, Tabasco hot sauce!