Friday, November 9, 2012

Chili Today, Hot Tamale

The Friggin' Gourmet
photo by Phil Soriano
I was in a chili cook-off today at work. Skipping the suspense and avoiding a setup and punchline, I won.

Ego trip aside, it was a little odd. I've never cooked competitively. (I've eaten competitively — a sushi-eating contest at the Morakami Museum — and it was disgusting.)

But this was a lot of fun and for a good cause; abandoned doggies. The event raised $900 which was great!

My big regret (aside from not being able to have my chili for lunch since it sold out pretty quickly) was not tasting the seven other entries. (I tried one.)

But it was very flattering, of course, to have people come up to me and tell me how much they liked my chili, that I should open a restaurant and sell chili dogs (yeah, right) or ask for my "secret ingredient."

Secret ingredient? Ha! I'm Mr. Transparent when it comes to food, so I'm happy to share.

But I didn't use a recipe, so I'm just going to list the ingredients and encourage experimentation. And other than a few items, no amounts are specified since I didn't keep track. This isn't science but craft.

Oh, and while this chili isn't hot, hot, hot (a/k/a Three-Mile Island Chili), it has depth and presence. I went for a bit of complexity and succeeded but it's not mild or bland, so if that's what you prefer, this is not for you. And despite the photo, actual cooking (and reheating the next morning) was done in a pot on top of the stove; the slow cooker was used only for serving.

Have at it!

Ingredients
approx. 3 lbs. ground chuck
approx 1 lb. loose Italian sausage
canola oil
4 15-oz. cans chili beans
2 15-oz. cans diced tomatoes
2 diced onions
onion powder
garlic cloves
garlic powder
Kosher salt
soy sauce
2 roasted red bell peppers
fresh ground black pepper
white pepper
cayenne
Louisiana hot sauce
honey
cumin
turmeric
oregano
allspice

Toppings
thinly sliced green onions
sliced jalapeƱo peppers
(Optional: shredded cheddar, sour cream)

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