Have you ever been to a chili cook-off? I’ll admit chili cook-offs are not normally my “scene.” But, if it involves a good cause, you can count me in. If you’ve visited COMDEX (COMputer Dealers EXposition) in the past, you probably know all about the Micrografx Chili for Children Foundation, the coordinators of an annual chili cook-off at trade show time.
This year’s event is scheduled for November 16 and is probably the only place where you’ll find a who’s who in the computer industry dressed down and serving up five-star chili! During my last visit, I mingled with the likes of Richard Hart and Dr. Ruth (she was just launching her first Web site). Kim Komando even asked this budding Webicurean to assist with her chili! This event is great fun, and more important, the proceeds benefit the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Clearly I’m out of touch with the wonderful world of chili cook-offs, so it’s fortunate that there’s an International Chili Society site packed with lots of information about chili cook-offs, including locations, lists of winners, and winning recipes. So if you’re traveling the chili cook-off circuit, this is a “must see” for you! The International Chili Society is a not-for-profit organization and has been sponsoring cook-offs to raise money for charity, worldwide, for the last 30 years. If you’re considering hosting your own cook-off, this is an excellent place to start.
For every real life event, there always seems to be a virtual counterpart. Amazingly, chili cook-offs are no exception. Honeysuckle White sponsors an annual “Virtual Turkey Chili Cook-off.” Entries are submitted from all over the globe, making it the largest virtual cook-off event. Contestants submit their recipes online, and the recipes are prepared and tested in the Honeysuckle White test kitchens. Be sure to stop by their site for the winning recipes and a glimpse of the recipe authors.
Need hand with your chili creations? Salsas, Etc.! has an online catalog of assorted chili “kits.” Here you can choose from a variety of mild to hot mixes (they’re all rated with heat levels) with fanciful names such as “Ass Kickin’ Chili Fixin’s” and “Ozark Outlaw Snakebite Chili.” All kits are priced under $5, making them a pretty good deal!
To spice up your chili, you might want to add some Cyber Sauce. This hot sauce is made from the habanera pepper–one of the hottest in the land. Allegedly registering 120,000 heat units on the thermal Richter scale (compared to Tabasco’s mild 8,000), this sauce is not for the weak of heart! They’ve even included a scratch ‘n’ sniff patch on their page for those of you with multi-sensory browsers … hey, waitaminute!
There is an abundance of chili recipes available on the Internet. If Ted’s Original Texas Road-Kill Chili doesn’t sound too appealing, rest assured there are plenty more recipe sites listed on Yahoo!’s Chili Recipe directory.
Whether you’re preparing chili for a cook-off, barbecue, or for your own brood at home, it’s always a great treat, any time of the year.
- 2 lbs lean ground beef
- 1 lb chuck steak, cubed
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 5 large garlic cloves, crushed
- 1-2 jalapeno peppers, diced
- ¼ cup whiskey
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsp smokey barbecue sauce
- 2 tbsp chili powder
- 2 tsp firmly packed brown sugar
- 3 tsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp House of Prime Rib Seasoning (or celery salt)
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp Lawry's seasoned salt
- 1 tbsp dried minced onion
- 1 tsp dried minced garlic
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 15 oz whole tomatoes, chopped with liquid
- 15 oz canned red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 4 oz canned pimentos, coarsely chopped, liquid reserved
- 1 small green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
- 3 stalks celery, diced
- 8 oz shredded cheddar cheese, for garnish
- 4 chopped scallions, for garnish
- Tortilla chips, for garnish
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, brown ground beef and beef cubes.
- Remove meat from pan and discard grease, leaving about 1 tbsp in the pan.
- To the pan add chopped onion, crushed garlic, and jalapeno pepper, cooking for five minutes, until softened.
- Deglaze pan with whiskey and stir meat back in.
- Add seasoning ingredients, mixing well, and bring to a simmer.
- Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes.
- Add tomatoes, their liquid, and kidney beans.
- Then reduce heat to low and cook, covered, 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Mix in pimentos with their liquid, green pepper, and celery, and cook, uncovered, five minutes longer, stirring occasionally.
- Garnish with cheese, scallions, and tortilla chips and serve immediately.