Lamb Chili

This recipe takes advantage of ground lamb, and makes good use of this increasingly popular way to have your lamb processed. In fact, by default your breast/flank cut choice processed as ground lamb.  Ground lamb is also a good use of the shoulder cut.   This is the perfect food for a  casual winter buffet, or inviting friends over to watch the big game.   This particular chili recipe was adapted from a Silver Palate chili recipe and is nicely spiced.   There’s no need for any side dishes with this recipe; just a lot of interesting chili toppings.    This flavorful dish is best served with cold beer, preferably one that is on the lighter side so that the taste doesn’ compete with great chili.  Everyone will want seconds; guaranteed!

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound yellow onions, coarsely chopped
1 pound mild Italian (lamb) sausage, removed from casings
4 pounds ground lamb
1 can (12 ounces) tomato paste
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/3 cup ground cumin (using crushed cumin is even better!)
1/2 cup chili powder
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons dried basil
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 1/2 tablespoons salt,
or to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
3 cans (28 ounces each) Italian plum tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup dry red wine
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 cans (16 ounces each) dark-red kidney beans, drained
2 cans (5 1/2 ounces each) pitted black olives, drained

1. Heat the olive oil in a very large pot. Add the onions and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 15 minutes. Add the sausage meat and ground lamb; cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until the meats are well browned. Spoon off any excess fat and discard.
2. Stir in the tomato paste, garlic, cumin, chili powder, mustard, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes, wine, lemon juice, dill, parsley and kidney beans. Stir well and simmer, uncovered, for another 15 minutes.

Serves 20

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