I’ve always viewed cooking with fruit with the same level of trepidation that I have for answering the telephone when the caller comes up as “unlisted”. While there is a slim chance that I’ll hit the jackpot, most likely things will get weird. Don’t misunderstand, fruit is a beautiful thing- in its proper environs.
Fruit in a basket? GOOD.
Fruit in a pie? VERY GOOD.
Fruit in an alcoholic cocktail. EXTREMELY GOOD.
Fruit in Carmen Miranda’s hat? INCREDIBLE.
Fruit in a chili? Most likely as desirable as a call from a telemarketer.
I guess we’ll see, but the idea seemed like a good one when my groggy, pre-coffee, 5am brain hatched it this morning. After spending the next 10 hours fixating on making a mango purchase, it was clearly time to answer the bell, with sausage.
20 oz sweet Italian turkey sausage links, chopped
2 T chili powder
1 t cumin
1 t paprika
1 t garlic powder
1 T onion flakes
1 T taco seasoning
2 C tomato sauce
1 1/3 C water
1 lb frozen mango chunks, cut into smaller chunks
This recipe calls for more sausage than..(complete this statement any way you wish..). Funny thing is, the sausage I bought seemed heavily laden with Anise. There was so much anise with this sausage that I could smell it from two houses down. I knew things were a bit off kilter when, at the outset of frying the sausage, Mrs. Chili365 shouted from the other room. “What the hell are you doing, cooking licorice?” Seems that in this environ, the mango fit in well. The Anise? Not so much.
Anise in Ouzo? YES! Yes! Yeah-essssssss!
Anise in licorice? Well, okay, I guess.
Anise in anything else? Nope.
Anise in sausage? Double nope.
I should have known better than to by sausage from a grocer that has proven time and time again that they have no problem reinterpreting “meat reality” and violating “common sausage decency”. My mind harkens back to the blueberry and maple syrup breakfast sausage I bought from said grocer. It took 3 solid weeks of scrubbing to remove the caramelized syrup from my skillet. I’m digressing.
I seasoned this chili enough to displace most of the anise flavor. It turns out that mango IS good in chili. It is very good. The Pirate and I really liked the mango and sweet sausage chili. Admittedly, this chili would go from “good” to “great” with better sausage, but then again, so what many other things. Pre and Chili Jr, were lukewarm on this chili. Mrs. Chili365 is terrified of anise (and mango texture). Accordingly, she muddled through the meal without her trademark Canadian perkiness. Well, well, well, I guess you can’t please everyone. That said, overall this chili wasn’t a phone call from Ed McMahon, but it beat talking to a monosyllabic Neanderthal about new vinyl siding.
Please email me Ouzo.