Chili time

Every year on the Friday before Halloween my office has a chili cook-off. I don't usually participate because I have a policy about getting out of the office for lunch, but this year I was kind of in the mood for chili and thought what the hell.

I don't have a go-to chili recipe. I've always kind of thrown it together from what I have around, or I've seen a recipe somewhere and given it a shot. Nothing has wow'd me so far. So I went to my favorite recipe site,, and picked the recipe with the highest score (5 stars) and most reviews (1794). It's called the Boilermaker Tailgate Chili.

We're still handicapped without a stove so browning meat in the electric skillet and moving to the crockpot was a little bit of a hassle, but the beans and tomatoes are easy from a can. Other than that it was just chopping vegetables and measuring spices (there are lots of ingredients), so it wasn't a horrible deal. I made it the evening before and tasted it before we went to bed. It was just okay. So just okay in fact, I left it at home on Friday and went out for lunch as usual.

That next evening, well, it was there so we warmed it up for dinner. And as is often the case, it was WAY better the next day. So if you don't have a favorite you might give it a shot, and here are a few tips:

-You want the bulk sausage, nothing in casing. Also, I like the rougher grind of the beef.

-I used one fewer can of beans for a total of three, and it was fine. Four would be too much.

-A half can of tomato paste worked just fine.

-I chop all the celery and peppers on the big side because I like them to stay firmer, and they did.

-A small can of chiles is fine if there are no fresh ones.

-Forget bacon bits, 3 pieces cooked crisp and crumbled is delicious.

-You do need the beer. Drink the other half while you cook!

-And finally, be generous with the spices. Rounded teaspoons beat level, although I eased off on the cayenne and thought it was spicy without being overwhelmingly hot.

If you give it a try let me know what you think.


Karena said...

This is the time of year chili sounds so good, I bet yours was delish David!

Art by Karena

Raina Cox said...

How weird is it that I've never eaten chili?

Russ Manley said...

Raina - you're totally not from Texas, are you? Grin.

David - Sounds real good, if I was a cook I'd give it a try. But Campbell's Roadhouse chili is practically identical in texture and taste to what I used to make when I had more enthusiasm for the kitchen, so that's the way I go now.

BTW an easy dinner for one is to pour chili over a baked potato, after the sour cream and before the shredded cheese.

If you really want a treat, add Fritos like we do down here.