Beefy Chili with Smoky Cheddar Toast

A hearty beef chili served with a smoky, paprika-spiked cheddar toast. The best way to eat this? With the toast smothered in chili. Seriously, is there any other way?
About the bread: I picked up a freshly-baked Boule at my local grocery store for this toast (a boule - French for "ball" - is a chewy/crusty bread that reminds me of French, with the chewiness of sourdough). You can actually use ANY bread you want - but a nice crusty bread that you can slice into thick (1/2-inch) slices is ideal. Consider sourdough, ciabatta, a French baguette, or whatever looks great in the bakery section of your favorite store.

About the heat level: Since we're adding hot sauce to the chili as it cooks, you decide how much to add. You can also keep it mild and serve the hot sauce on the side. That's ALWAYS the way I serve it at my house - my son adds so much hot sauce to his chili (and most foods), I never have to pluck my eyebrows (from the fumes at the table).

Make-ahead friendly: You can make the chili up to 2 days in advance and refrigerate until ready to serve. Reheat the chili in a saucepan over low heat. If the chili is too thick, add a little beef broth or tomato sauce to thin it out.

Beefy Chili with Smoky Cheddar Toast

1 1/4 pounds lean ground beef
1 tablespoon chili powder or chipotle chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
15-ounce can tomato sauce
15-ounce can seasoned black beans
1-2 teaspoons hot sauce of choice, or more/less as desired
8 slices bread (I sliced a Boule artisan loaf, but French, sourdough and ciabatta work great too), cut the slices about 1/2-inch thick
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Brown the beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat, breaking up the meat as it cooks. If necessary, drain away any fat. Add the chili powder, cumin, oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper and stir to coat. Cook for 1 minute, until the herbs and spices are fragrant. Add the tomato sauce, black beans and hot sauce and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
To make the bread, spread the butter on one side of the bread slices and arrange the slices on the prepared pan. Sprinkle the paprika over top. Top with the cheddar cheese.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until the cheese melts and the bread is lightly toasted.
Ladle the chili into bowls and serve with the bread on the side.
Serves 4