1 1/2 bags (24 ounces) of dry small red beans
2 lbs. Italian sausage (or 1 lb. Italian sausage and 1 lb. ground hamburger)
1 large onion, diced
6 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt
2 (28 oz) cans diced tomatoes
1 (16 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
3 tablespoons chili powder
3 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/3 cup jalapeño slices
Soak beans in large pot overnight. When ready to cook the chili, add the diced onion, bay leaves and salt to the beans and boil until the beans are soft. Pour out excess water until the water and bean levels are the same.
Brown the meat in a large skillet. In a separate large pan, make the sauce. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, sugar, black pepper, red pepper, and jalapeños. Simmer for 15 minutes.
Add meat and sauce to the pot of beans and simmer for 30 minutes. Serve chili warm.
You can adjust the seasonings to your likings. I like it spicy! Also feel free to add your favorite chili toppings-cheese, crackers, green onion, sour cream, or butter:) It is also great with cornbread.