Johnsonville Italian Sausage Chili Contest…. and my entry!

28 Jan

I recently started following Johnsonville on Twitter and soon after, they tweeted about a Chili Challenge. Johnsonville is looking for recipes using their Italian Sausage and the winner receives a Sur La Table gift card worth $10,000.

My mind started racing. Of course I was going to enter. First off, I love chili. Second, do you know how much stuff I could get at Sur La Table??!!! I LOVE that store and every time I go there, I have to restrain myself from getting everything I want. (The same thing happens to me when I go to Target.)

I enjoy the everyday chili recipe, but if I want to win (which I do), it’s time to think out of the box. What ingredients can I throw into a pot and make people notice?? Mentally, I went back to my trip to Hawaii. To be honest, I do that a lot…. but now I was thinking about the flavors of Hawaii. Mainly pineapple. Why can’t pineapple be added to a savory pot of chili? I think it can and it’s gonna be goooood 🙂

It’s all about flavor profiles. If the right elements are there, you can combine just about anything. For those of you who watch the show Chopped, you know what I’m talking about. Yesterday I saw a dessert competition which had hotdogs & marshmallows in their mystery basket. Obviously two things that don’t belong together but both Chefs made it work and made a tasty dessert.

Ok, so back to the chili. I’m making a sweet & smokey chili. I selected Johnsonville Sweet Italian Sausage as the star of my chili. Supporting roles include pineapple, sweet potatoes, black beans, jalepenos & cilantro. The smokey flavor comes from cumin. It really makes the chili and it tastes so good with the sweet notes from the pineapple.

I loved this chili! Me & the hubby enjoyed this dish on a cold night in South Bend. It was the perfect meal to warm us up! Knowing the rest of the weekend is going to be pretty cold, I’m sure we will be enjoying this chili again! I was struggling what to call the recipe. While we were eating, Mr. Tasty blurted out the perfect name for it — Aloha Chili. So if you’re looking for a colorful meal with some sweet & spice, make this chili. I promise you’re gonna love it, too!

Aloha Chili

  • 1.5 tbs olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, diced
  • 2 jalapenos, sliced
  • 2 lbs of Johnsonville Sweet Italian Sausage
  • 1/2 cup beer ( I used Blue Moon)
  • 1 (20 oz) can of black beans, rinsed & drained
  • 2 (20 oz) cans of cubed pineapple, drained
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbs chili powder, add more if needed
  • 2 tbs cumin, add more if needed
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 3 cups of chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup cilantro


  1. In a dutch oven, add the olive oil and the onion, garlic, sweet potatoes & jalapenos. Cook on a medium to high heat for 8 minutes, stir frequently. Add a 1/2 of beer (or you can use stock) to deglaze the pan.
  2. In a skillet, cook the 2 lbs of sausage until it’s browned. Be sure to drain off the fat on a plate lined with a paper towel.
  3. In the dutch oven, add the black beans, pineapple cubes & tomatoes. Stir the ingredients into the mixture and cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Add all of the spices & the salt to the dutch oven. Then add in the cooked sausage. Make sure everything is well mixed.
  5. Pour in the stock and simmer for 20 minutes. Be sure to stir the chili a few times.
  6. Add cilantro to the chili just before serving.
  7. Eat & Enjoy!

5 Responses to “Johnsonville Italian Sausage Chili Contest…. and my entry!”

  1. Sarah January 28, 2012 at 5:56 pm #

    I can’t even begin to find the words how delicious this looks. Wow. There is no doubt this will be made ASAP.

  2. Ruth Ann January 29, 2012 at 2:41 pm #

    I tried it and loved it, Aloha to chili.

  3. Jo Anne January 30, 2012 at 12:47 pm #

    This sounds fantastic….!!!!
    Sweet Italian sausage is my favorite to start with, and the addition of pineapple and some “heat” just tops it all off….think I’ll try cutting everything small enough so it can be used as a hot “dip”….
    I’ll be picking up the ingredients I need on my next shopping trip….in fact….maybe I’ll make a special trip….

  4. Rebecca_C February 1, 2012 at 8:20 pm #

    Um hi…how is this the first time I’m learning about this site? ADORABLE!

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