Thursday, December 17, 2009

glory is mine!

Today was the office chili cook-off. We had nine chili entries and a whole host of cornbread, biscuits, chips, spiced nuts, and beer. The competition was steep: there are some very good cooks among our staff. What were we after? Besides bragging rights? The golden spoon of victory! (see below)

This trophy is made from a real wooden chili spoon, spray painted with high-quality gold glitter craft paint, and laced in ribbon in our official office colors. (kinda like high school, huh?) Guess who walked away with the title?

That's right! None other than yours truly! Frankly, I'm just relieved I can back up all that trash-talking I did leading up to the cook-off. OK now here comes the bragging (hey! I earned it!): This is the second chili cook-off I've participated in and won! The last one was 2004, my senior year of college. I remember that chili being good, but nothing spectacular; I think the only reason it won was I dialed it back on the spice so the judges could actually taste it, whereas Adam, whose chili was probably truly the best, made it so spicy it burned all the way down. Those small details are what make a winner, folks!

I kept my recipe this year secret until I had claimed victory, but I think it's safe to share it with you now. You are welcome to take it and tweak it as you like for any chili cook-off you dare to enter.

a chuck roast (don't spend more than $6) cut into 1-inch cubes
$6 worth of pork also cut into 1-inch cubes
*side note: I'm giving you measurements in dollar amounts because I can't remember what the poundage was; I just eye-balled it and then said, "yep, I can afford that."
4 Tbsp chili powder
1Tbsp-ish kosher salt + more at your discretion
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups diced sweet onions
1/2 ancho chile, seeded and coarsely chopped
5 cloves of garlic, blanched and coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp cumin
2 tsp turmeric
1 pint beef stock (or turkey stock with beef bouillon added, which is what I actually did)
1 14-oz can diced tomatoes with juice
2 cans black beans
2 cans red kidney beans
1/2 lb bacon coarsely chopped
1 cup Oaxacan mole sauce
3 Tbsp brown sugar
2-3 Tbsp red wine vinegar (more or less to your taste)
cayenne pepper, shake it how you like it, baby!

In a pan, brown the beef and pork (you'll probably want to do it in batches)
Throw them into a crock pot, toss in the salt and chili powder, put the lid on, and cook it on low for 4 hrs, turning the meat gently maybe twice during the course of the slow-cook
In your soup pot, cook the onions, ancho chile, and garlic in olive oil until the onions become translucent.
Add the cumin and turmeric and cook a little longer
When you get bored, add the stock, tomatoes in juice, 1 can of black beans, 1 can of kidney beans, and cook a little longer, stirring with a wooden spoon.
While that is simmering, cook up your bacon in a separate pan, and then add it to the pot.
Puree everything in the pot either in the blender, cuisinart, or (if you're lucky like me) your immersion blender. When you feel it's been mixed to your taste, put the put of soup back on the stove and add the second can of black beans and kidney beans, the mole sauce, and the brown sugar.
Add the red wine vinegar (stir and taste at 2 Tbsp, and only add the 3rd if you think it needs more of a kick). If you think it needs more heat, shake in some cayenne pepper until it's hot enough for you
When your meat is good and ready, add it to the pot. If you have time, let it sit over night in the fridge and then reheat in the crock pot.


-The Champion

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