I did not set out to make Hoosier Chili a few Sundays ago. But as I assembled what ingredients I had on hand, the destiny of Indiana chili was manifest. The Thursday before I had picked up my now weekly Market Wagon order at Honey Moon Coffee Co. (South Weinbach Avenue location) — two well-packed paper grocery bags stored behind the counter of the shop in black insulated bags. Inside, regionally sourced: 1 pound ground beef, 1 pound stew meat, EverCrisp apples, orange fennel sausage, honey, eggs, peasant bread, salad greens, garlic, and mushrooms. Of course, not everything was meant for the chili.
I normally make my fathers’s chili, Jack’s Chili. For this batch, I wanted to use both the ground beef and the stew meat; an online search led me to this recipe for guidance. I especially liked that it asked for a malty beer. I used one of my favorites, Sun King Sun Light Cream Ale. The beer helped lay the foundation for the Hoosier riff on my chili.
My standard pantry brand of canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste is Red Gold. Yay, an Indiana brand! Rather than soaking the beans, I did buy canned; the Schnucks label says they are “Midwest grown.”
While the recipes offered guidance, I amped up the spice all around, dashing hot sauce and throwing in an unsweetened chocolate square. The chili smelled really great simmering on the stove for a couple of hours.
I served the first round of the newly named Hoosier Chili with a spoonful of sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese. My family proclaimed this adaptation a success.