I briefly mentioned in my last post that Super Bowl Sunday 2011 was also to be Chili Cook Off 2011 for my friends and I. Being the research nerd I am I spent many a free hour this week delving into the world of chili and chili recipes. I came away with an overwhelming library of recipes and some interesting chili factoids. The history of the Chili Queens is particularly worth mentioning. The end result of my week of research and day of cooking was the following recipe. It didn't win the chili cook off but I was happy with the results and it was still a crowd pleaser.
Christina's Ground Beef and Red Bean Chili
The original ingredients I started out with were:
2 lbs of lean ground beef (this ended up being a lot of beef. If you like your chili less beefy you'd be better with a 1 1/2 lbs)
2 cans of Red Kidney Beans
2 cups of diced tomatoes
6 oz of tomato paste
1 bottle of beer (I went with Yeungling because it was in my house but I think next time I might try something in the stout family or just a little darker)
1 large yellow onion
1 red pepper
2 habanero chili peppers
1 Cubanelle pepper (I'd have switched this out for a poblano but my grocery store didn't have any)
2 Jalapeno peppers
2 cloves of garlic
2 squares of bakers dark chocolate
Chili powder, cayenne pepper chili powder, cumin, salt, red pepper flakes, crushed annatto seeds - all to taste and added through the cooking process
Brown the ground beef over a medium heat
Cut onions and peppers into a small dice, mince garlic, saute together in a large pan
Add all ingredients to a crock pot and set on low
Begin the long wait to deliciousness. Most recipes I studied called for the chili to warm in the crock pot from 5-9 hours. Mine ended up on low for 5 hours, off for an hour car ride in the crock pot in an insulated crock pot carry bag and back on low for another hour before switching to warm for the rest of the evening.
What It Looked Like When It First Went In:
What It Looked Like After 7 Hours (Including The Car Ride):
Every 1 1/2 hours I would sprinkle the chili with a blend of all the spices I had.
At about 3 hours in I did a taste test and while it tasted really good I wanted more depth to the flavor so I got creative. Ingredients added:
3 tablespoons of light brown sugar
1 more square of bakers dark chocolate
1/4 cup of hot sauce
The end result didn't quite have the punch of heat I was originally going for but the flavor was unique in a good way and it stood up as a mostly traditional, hearty chili. It's something I want to try again and experiment with changing out the peppers, type of beer, etc.