Introduction: Spicy Roasted Marinara Sauce and Ghostly Roasted Pepper Chili From the Same Base Recipe

About: I am married with two children. Spring, summer, and fall are my very favorite times of the year. I enjoy working in the yard, sewing, cooking, quilting, gardening, and creating. I do this to keep my sanity.

My son and I love to cook and often share recipes, especially our hot and spicy ones. Our family members are not as excited to consume them though. My husband is not a ghost pepper fan or any really hot pepper for that matter, or so he says. When I mention "GHOST" he used to head for the hills. Just between you and me, I sneaked the ghost pepper in (just a tiny amount) and he discovered that he does like it but just a tiny bit.

Today I am sharing my son's non published marinara sauce base "for roasted chili", with his permission of course. I have made his recipe many times and my husband and I love it. If you are looking for a quick chili recipe this is not it. It is a slow process but well worth the flavor profile in the end.

It is getting more difficult for me to prepare it in one day because I get too tired. I have made it several times recently and have modified his version by preparing the peppers and tomatoes in advance and then freezing them. I also am including tips on how to create the perfect family friendly sauce and chili using this recipe, that will satisfy everyone's palate. Everyone has a different idea about what to add to a sauce to make good chili, this version should come close to making everyone happy. Follow through and lets get started.

Step 1: For Perfect Results Please Read These Tips Before Making This Recipe the First Time

I have learned to reduce recipes that I have not tried to 1/2 or 1/4 because everyone's taste buds dance differently. I have had to throw out large batches of a recipe because my buds did not dance. I recommend if there is an ingredient you are Leary of, don't add it all at once. Most of the recipes I use, add most of the seasonings toward the end of the cooking time. I pre-measure the seasonings as suggested by the recipe, using the largest amounts, but do not add them to the batch all at once. I usually dish up a small amount of the sauce, chili, or soup and then add a tiny amount of the questionable seasoning. If I like it, I add a pinch to the batch and taste it again after a minute or two. I continue to do this, until I have achieved the desired flavor or I do not add it to the contents. This has been a very practical approach when making a new recipe.

My son's recipe can be used as a marinara sauce by using the roasted bell peppers and adding a small amount of hot peppers because he likes his sauce a little spicy, and omitting the chili and cumin and using the sauce for spaghetti the first day, and the following day he adds the chili powder and cumin and hot peppers to make chili the second day.

If you are sensitive to peppers, I strongly recommend you to use gloves, mask, and wash your hands thoroughly and often during the handling process. Do not touch your eyes, or skin after handling the peppers and if you have small children please do not work with peppers where they can touch them. Some people have a terrible reaction to the capsicum.

I used about 1/4 of a chipotle pepper with a tiny amount of adobe sauce to give the sauce a smokey flavor. Because I added them to the sauce, I did not need the recipes amount of chili and cumin.( I used the larger amount when I measured).

It is recommended to serve crackers, corn chips, or bread when eating hot peppers. Most people go for water or cold drinks but dear readers it will not relieve burning sensation.

The way I adapted this recipe is to recommend pre-roasting the tomatoes and baby bell peppers one day in advance. My oven was not working so I had to use the top of my stove to roast the last batch of chilies and tomatoes. It worked OK but I do prefer the oven method. It is probably why it took me much longer than usual to make. I have not tried roasting the tomatoes in the oven yet but will give it a try next time.

You can freeze roasted green chilies with great results, so the next time bell peppers are on sale, I will roast them and freeze them until needed. This will save me time and money. You can do the same with the tomatoes but it does change the texture somewhat, but a lot of people do freeze them for sauces like this.

If you decide to add hot peppers to this recipe do so in tiny amounts, allowing the flavor to disperse for a couple of minutes before adding more. I have not tried a Habanero pepper in this recipe, but my son who loves the heat, told me to use 1/4 of the pepper for this recipe because they are very hot.You can also omit any hot peppers and have them available as a condiment at the table.

We grew our own ghost peppers last year but you can purchase them in the fall in the produce section of the grocery store or buy them in the spice isle.

It only takes a tiny pinch in this recipe for family members who like a little bit of heat but not much. Testing it ahead is the way to go. Ask family members to try it.

My husband loves beans, corn,carrots,and celery in his chili. I prefer the Texas style chili, so I precook the things he likes that need cooked and add it to his bowl and top it with Texas style chili. It makes us both happy.

I experimented with this recipe and added sour cream and lime juice for condiments. My husband and I agreed the addition of these two things added a layer of deliciousness.

We both enjoyed the last batch of chili that I made the best because it was exactly the way we both like it~

I am sure using these techniques that your family will enjoy this recipe as well.

Step 2: Ingredients and Utensils

This is the original recipe my son shared with me, with his added recommendations. I will add a note how I altered it at the bottom of this page. I did not take pictures of the ingredients he used however all the ingredients are in the pictures we both used. Both versions are very tasty. Please remember to add pinches of the seasonings a little at a time, allowing the flavors to meld together for a couple of minutes, before adding any more of the seasonings, to achieve the best results for you and your family:

William's Chili Recipe


Cook time: if in slow cooker – about 3 to 5 hours. If on stove top 2-3 hours. The longer the cook time the better.

Meat two pounds of ground beef for a 6-quart ( about 1 liters (0.945 liters)) cooker. You can use chicken or pork with similar results.

Seasonings Chili Powder and Cumin formula is 1chili powder = 0.5 cumin powder

4 to 5 teaspoons of Chili Powder (please keep in mind to omit if using this recipe for a Marinara sauce the first day and the second day add the chili powder if making chili.

2 - 3 teaspoons of cumin (please keep in mind to omit if using this recipe for a Marinara sauce the first day and the second day add the cumin if making chili.

1-2 teaspoons of Salt (for meat)

1/2 to 1 teaspoons Black Pepper (for meat)

Ingredients (all fresh) 2 lbs (a bit less than 1 Kilogram (0.907 kg)) of organic tomatoes ) You may use canned if tomatoes are out of season, they taste better than winter tomatoes.

1.5 medium sized yellow or red onion) diced

3 to 6 full cloves of garlic minced depending on size and potency of flavor)

1 medium carrot shredded

2 Poblano(or Anaheim) peppers (or some other mild chili pepper) - for flavor not heat)

1 each of a medium sized Red, Yellow, and Orange bell peppers - you can use three of any single type but I like the colored ones) Mom used colored baby bell peppers 1-2 pkgs.

2 cubes of beef bullion add a small amount of very hot water to disolve

1 tablespoon of brown sugar

Corn Starch or Flour/Butter Rue (for thickening)

High heat cooking oil such as Peanut, coconut oil,or grape seed oil

Herbs: (fresh preferred but dried will work reducing the amounts)

1 teaspoon minced basil

1/2 teaspoon minced oregano

1/8 of teaspoon of minced thyme

1 Whole Bay leaf

Notes: Will thicken and taste even better the next day.

Sunshiine's ingredients:

I used our organic ghost peppers that I dried, as well as chipotle in adobe sauce, in very very small amounts, 1/8 to 1/4 the size of one pepper and 1/8t adobe, to the sauce, which added a deeper roasted flavor and a little heat. It may sound like a little, but it packs a punch for those whose taste buds are sensitive.

I did not use the large colored bell peppers, instead I used the baby bells which had a sweeter flavor.

If you grow organic tomatoes from your garden, this recipe is incredibly more delicious. I tried making the recipe using store bought Roma tomatoes, in the fall of the year and it reduced the flavor a lot.This time I used canned tomatoes, which improved the flavor somewhat.

I pre-cooked ingredients to be added to the bowl hot, carrots, celery, and corn and would normally add cooked black beans, for my husband's perfect chili. He likes to put it on the top of a baked potato with sour cream and fresh cilantro onions and cheddar cheese.

I used sour cream, lime zest and juice, and a tiny amount of ghost pepper, as condiments for the table for both of us. Make it your way using these techniques.

You will also need an oven proof skillet, blender, and large stock or crock pot that you might not have on hand.

Step 3: Method

Prep work:

Wash all produce and herbs

Dice 1 medium onion and set aside

Mince 3-6 garlic cloves and set aside

Shred 1 medium carrot for sauce

Dissolve 2 beef bullion cubes or 2 teaspoons of paste in very hot water

Measure dry seasonings using the larger measurements:

1 Tablespoon brown sugar, 2 plus tablespoons corn meal, if a thicker is needed, (salt and black pepper to taste for the meat),and 1 bay leaf. If using dried seasonings, reduce the amounts listed... 1 teaspoon fresh basil,1/2 teaspoon fresh oregano, 1/8 teaspoon fresh thyme; these are for both the sauce and the chili, so if you are making chili the next day do not add these again. You will only need to add cumin and chili powder and or hot peppers. (4-5 teaspoons chili powder for the chili only), (2-3 teaspoons cumin for chili only).

This is what I added to this step:

The following was chopped and precooked and served hot for the chili only, carrots and celery (and add 1 can black or pinto beans if desired.

Cheddar cheese shredded , chopped cilantro, sour cream, lime zest and lime slices for garnish.

I added extra ghost pepper and chipotle in adobe at the table for myself. Yum.

Step 4: Marinara Sauce or Chili or Both

Method: for roasting the tomatoes and peppers:

Pre-heat oven to 300F (150C).

Using a high heat oil; peanut, coconut, or grape seed oil, lightly coat the washed bell peppers and tomatoes.

Place the peppers in an oven proof pan such as a cast iron skillet; allowing room between each pepper. You may need to use two pans in order to roast the tomatoes, or I roasted my tomatoes on top of the stove with fairly good results. If the peppers do not stand upright, carefully slice the bottom of the peppers so they will, this will help them roast evenly. If using the baby bell peppers you will need to lay them on their side to roast and you may need to reduce the cooking time.

Roast for about twenty minutes and turn the pan around. The skins on the peppers should have a slight dark color. Roast another twenty minutes and then remove from the oven. Depending on your oven,you may need to roast them slightly longer. (See the picture to get an idea about how they should look.)

Tomato skins will split and this is a good sign that they are roasting well and almost done. I am sorry I can't find the picture of them. You can save time by roasting the peppers and tomatoes in advance and freeze them.

Remove the tomatoes and peppers from the oven and allow to cool enough to handle and remove the stems. We did not remove the seeds, membrane, or the skins and the flavor was fine but you can if you wish.

Step 5: Blend


Blend the tomatoes and bell peppers together. Place the blended mixture into a large stock or crock pot with all the juices. You may need to do this in stages depending on the size of your blender. Turn on the crock pot to high if using one, or bring the mixture to a boil on top of the stove.

Step 6: Meat

Method for the sauce only. If you wish to make just the chili, add the chili powder,cumin, and hot peppers at the same time (as the brown sugar) in small amounts, though out the cooking process, if you are concerned about the amounts.

Heat fry pan to frying temperature with high heat cooking oil.

Take 1/2 the onion and 1/2 the garlic and sweat in the pan for about a minute until there is a good aroma.

Place the meat with salt and pepper into the pan and fry until done. Take special care to make sure the ground meat does not have large clumps. You want a fine beef mixture.Sometimes sunshiine adds water to the mixture so the meat will break up a little easier.

Cook until nearly done and then pour the entire mixture into the tomato and pepper sauce.

If cooking in a pot, bring to a boil and reduce to simmer and cook for about twenty minutes,- stir occasionally being careful not to allow the mixture to burn.

Place the rest of the onion, rest of the garlic, carrot, brown sugar, and bullion mixture into the pot.

If cooking in a slow cooker, place the rest of the onion, rest of the garlic, carrot, brown sugar, and bullion into the pot. Cook until steaming and give it a good stir.

Both cooking methods:

Cook for about an hour at low temp.

Add corn meal to thicken if needed. I like mine a stew consistency, while others like it real thick. Keep in mind the more thickening you use, the more seasonings you may need to add to keep the flavors in balance.

Add the herbs and cook about 3-5 minutes if fresh (if using dried) cook for about 10 minutes.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

The next day you simply re-heat the sauce, and add cumin, chili powder, and hot peppers if desired and cook until very hot. You may add the cooked ingredients if using them at this time or heat them separately hot at the table.

Step 7: Sunshiines Final Thoughts

The taste should be rich in flavor and have a depth of different flavors of tomato, beef, chili, and cumin. If adding the chipotle in adobe and ghost pepper, it will be hotter and have a more complex smokey flavor. If the chili seems to taste "thin or not have a good depth of flavor, add just a bit more brown sugar and/or shredded carrot ( a little at a time before adding more to allow the flavors to blend). You can also add more garlic, or onions if you like.

I tend to like my chili with fresh onion added right at the end of cooking for a sweet onion crunch. Also, I tend to like the cumin and chili flavors really strong, so I find myself adding more chili powder, cumin, and garlic near the finishing stages.

Notes: This chili will thicken and taste better the next day.

We hope you enjoy the recipe and do have a safe and happy weekend~


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