My entry in Parkfairfax’s first-ever chili cook-off! When I saw the notice in my neighborhood’s newsletter about the cook-off, I immediately called my mom to get suggestions for a winning recipe. She passed along her award-winning “Eye-Poppin’ Chili with Corn”. Normally, I make chili with beans but since it was a Texas-style chili…no beans. For me, I like the texture of beans in a chili since it gives a bit more depth texture-wise to the dish. However, she won with it and I was determined to have a good showing and possibly win.
Since I was unsure of how many people in the neighborhood would attend, I doubled the recipe (see below). The recipe called for 2 lbs. of 1” cubed meat, so I had to get 4 lbs. I did ask the butcher at the store to cut it into 1” cubes, but much to my dismay I had to cut it down to size – all 4 lbs – the day I made it. It took forever! I managed to get it all cut up into bite sized pieces and began making the dish. I accidentally thought the cook-off was on the Saturday when I woke-up early to make the dish. I had it all made, looked at the newsletter again and noticed that the event was actually on Sunday. Argh. In hindsight, making the chili the day before made it even better since it had a full 24 hours for the flavors, etc. to blend.
The event itself was well put together and overall there were 11 entries in the competition. Mine won second place! So if you are looking to enter a chili cook-off, try this recipe and hopefully it will be a winner for you.
Eye-Poppin’ Chili with Corn (from The Real Chili Cookbook by Marjie Lambert)
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 ½ cups bottled hot salsa
2 beef bouillon cubes
1 medium onion, chopped
2 lbs beef, cubed or coarsely ground
2 Tbsp hot New Mexico chili powder
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp celery salt
1 cup corn (frozen)
1 tsp salt
1) Heat 1 Tbsp of the oil in a large saucepan. When the oil is sizzling hot, add the salsa and fry for 5 minutes. Dissolve the bouillon cubes in 1 cup boiling water and add it to the salsa with 2 more cups of water.
2) Heat 1 Tbsp of the oil in the skillet and sauté the onions for 5 minutes. Add the onion to the salsa. Heat the remaining oil and cook the beef until lightly browned. Add to the salsa with the remaining ingredients, except the corn and salt. Simmer 1 hour in a 4 or 6 quart pot.
3) Add the corn and simmer for another 30 minutes. Add salt to taste and adjust seasonings per your preference.
As promised, here’s Henry De Sio’s “Parkfairfax Blue Ribbon Chili” that was the first-place winner.
Open 105 oz can (which you can get at Costco) tomatoes and blend 3/4 of the tomatoes in a food processor (keep a thick texture) and then pour into crock pot. Cut the remaining tomatoes into strips or pieces and add to sauce (he likes some tomato chunks in his chili). Add two cups of beef bouillon. Let the sauce cook on high level for about two hours then let rest.
Bake 2 lb. boneless short-ribs in the oven for an hour at 320 degrees (He cooked his on a baking pan in a layer of bacon grease) then dice in small pieces. Brown 1 lb. hamburger. Grill a fine steak 1 lb. on the grill then dice in small pieces. Mix the meats together and set aside.
Dry ingredients (add together in a bowl and set aside):
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp white pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp chili powder
Other ingredients (add together in a bowl and set aside):
1.5 small can green chile diced
1 yellow onion (about 1 cup diced) then browned
Cook 3 whole jalapeno peppers in oil and frying pan then dice
1 small can of chipotle peppers (about 5-7 peppers) cut into small pieces
Note: Add the remaining chipotle sauce in the can to base sauce.
Mix the dry ingredients into the base sauce. Next mix the other ingredients into the base sauce. Cover crock pot and reheat on a medium heat for 2-3 hours. Lastly, add the meat and then cook uncovered (I place parchment paper over the top) for same amount of time (this keeps sauce from getting too soupy). Cover and set over night. Next day, reheat in the crock and serve.