The Great Chili Cook-Off

Yesterday, I walked back into the office after eating my lunch of a stale bran muffin and an overripe banana, and I smelled chili. Someone had warmed up chili for lunch, and I wanted it. Badly. So badly that I stopped by Wendy’s for dinner and got chili there, and even that tasted pretty darned good.

So I sent out a Facebook plea, asking for favorite chili recipes. My chili “recipe” has always consisted of tossing into the pot whatever happens to be in the fridge. Every time I discover a new trick people use to make their chili delicious, I add that to my chili strategy. The result is that my chili usually has about 57 ingredients and cannot be relied upon to taste good. Sometimes I accidentally do something that results in wonderful chili, sometimes the combinations¬† aren’t right and I wish the leftovers would just go away.

I wanted a recipe. A real one. With measured ingredients. And my Facebook friends came through for me. So far, I’ve gotten recipes for Grandma’s Chili, Kitchen Sink Chili, White Chicken Chili, Chocolate Chili, Triple Pork Chili, and Turkey Chili. That’s not what I was expecting. I was expecting to get three or four recipes that all looked more or less the same, from which I could glean the secrets of a perfect chili. Who knew there were so many varieties?

And what am I supposed to do about it? Try them all, obviously. So I’m declaring this winter my personal Great Chili Cook-Off. I figure I’ll document my efforts here. And I’m still accepting submissions. Anyone else have a chili recipe that you’re willing to share? Don’t worry – I promise not to enter any actual chili cook-offs with your recipe. I’m way too inconsistent a chef to pull that off without it ending in tears (for me and the judges, no doubt).

Facebook, email, comment, text, tweet, write, or whisper me your recipes. I’ll add them to the list and let you know how they stack up.

PS: Extra judges always welcome. Feel free to invite yourself over for dinner.

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2 thoughts on “The Great Chili Cook-Off

  1. Enter boring, but always delicious megan’s fool proof chili

    1 lb ground beef
    1 onion
    1 can diced tomatoes with juice
    2 cans kidney beans drained
    2 cans tomato sauce
    1/2 can water
    2-3 beef bullion cubes
    3 T chili powder or more. I just shake
    hot sauce of choice to taste

    brown ground beef and put in crock pot with all other remaining ingredients in the morning, put on low and enjoy after work. I do put in whatever color bell pepper I have on hand if I have one.

  2. This makes a *real* pot of chili (plenty to freeze for future consumption… but you could halve it easily). Serves 10.

    6 slices Bacon (I use thick sliced ‘Pepper Bacon’)
    1lb ground pork sausage (I use Original Flavor Jimmy Dean)
    1lb ground beef (or turkey if you prefer)
    *Optional: 1lb sliced up in 1″ pieces Andouille/Louisiana Sausage (or Italian if you prefer)
    2 Large Onions – chopped
    1 Green Bell Pepper – chopped
    2 cloves Garlic – minced
    1 Louisiana hot green pepper (or Jalapeno) – diced
    1/4 Cup Worcestershire Sauce
    1 Cup Burgandy Wine (or really any red wine)
    1 tsp dry mustard
    1 tsp celery seeds
    2 Tblsp chili powder
    3 Cups (or 2 ‘large’ cans) Italian Pear Tomatoes (or canned whole tomatoes if you can’t find the Italian Pear ones)
    1 15oz can Pinto Beans
    2 15oz cans Dark Red Kidney Beans (NOT the ‘seasoned’ kind… just plain canned dark red kidney beans)

    In Dutch oven, fry bacon, remove from pan, drain, crumble it up and set aside. Crumble up the sausage and ground beef/turkey into dutch oven and brown in bacon drippings, remove from pot, drain well and set aside. *If using the Andouille type Sausage slices, now is the time to brown this as well… remove from pot, drain and set aside with ground meats.

    Add into the remaining meat drippings in the dutch oven and saute over low heat the Onion, Bell Pepper, garlic and hot pepper until onions are translucent;

    Stir in the dry mustard, celery seeds & chili powder; Simmer 10 minutes.

    Mash tomatoes; Add tomatoes *with* juice from cans along with Worcestershire Sauce & Wine to the vegetable mixture. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer, season to taste with Cajun/Creole seasoning or with Cayenne/Salt/Black Pepper; Simmer for 1/2 hour, stirring occasionally.

    Add beans (with liquid from the cans); heat to boiling; Reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

    *Shredded Cheddar Cheese and a dollop of Sour Cream are perfect on top of this chili in bowl.
    *Also GREAT to fill a baked potato with (and of course add that shredded cheese and sour cream on top again)

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