By Kathryn Washburn Breighner
This is a treasured family recipe. I cut it out of the Detroit Free Press years ago and have no clue what drew me to this odd blend of ingredients. It was called "Clare Mackey Stew" after the wife of a Michigan politician.
When our sons were in school, we would haul gallons of this to ski meets and it would wow people. Everyone called it a chili. No one could guess the secret ingredient: apples.
Once or twice a year, a friend will ask for the recipe for "Clare Mackey" as it was affectionately called at the ski meets. We would show up for the tailgate party and people would ask "Did you bring Clare Mackey?" It's that good.
1 lb. pound breakfast sausage
1 large onion, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 large Granny Smith apples, cored, unpeeled, cut into 1 inch chunks
½ cup packed dark brown sugar
3 T chili powder
1 ½ t dried mustard
15 oz. tomato sauce
sour cream for garnish
Soak kidney beans overnight. Drain, cover with water and cook over low heat until the skin begins to break but the beans are still slightly hard. Drain beans reserving 2 cups of the liquid.
In a large heavy pot, brown breakfast sausage breaking into 1" pieces. When the sausage is pink, add the chopped onion. Continue to brown the sausage; drain off any fat. Add to the pot, the beans, the garlic, apples, sugar, chili powder, mustard, tomato sauce, reserved bean liquid, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally for 60-75 minutes or until apples are softened and the chili is thick.