Some women are natural football fans, just as eager as their husbands to scream from the couch as touchdowns are scored. You see, I know as much about sports as I do about high-school level algebra; and that’s not much. When Matt and I were invited to our neighbor’s Super Bowl party, I was excited to go – but like many other people in the country, I wanted to go for one reason: the food. As a non-football fan, my Super Bowls past weren’t filled with lore and legend of heaping trays of Buffalo wings or salty French onion dips. I never got to taste a 12-foot sub or stick my hand in a bowl of sticky M&Ms. Instead; I spent Super Bowl Sundays languishing in shopping malls, enjoying the brief respite from my fellow citizens. But this year, it all changed when our neighbor told me his super bowl party was a CHILI COOK OFF.
I have a little bit of a competitive streak, but it’s so diminutive that one of my close friends hates playing board games with me because I’ll often get bored and try to sabotage the game. It must be my short attention span, because I’ll be interested in winning for about five seconds before I fix my eye on something sparkly and visions of victory are long gone, and instead I’m daydreaming about my next major bargain. (A genetic gift, no doubt, as my home is furnished with lovely things all scored way under retail!) However, as a teenager I became obsessed with the show Iron Chef, imagining that one day, I too would have a chance to claim my fame as the chief-cabbage-wrangler of the Food Network.
So anyways, back to Chili. (Didn’t I tell you about that short attention span? SQUIRREL!) My Chili won first place in the Reseda Darby Avenue Chili Cook Off, out of 9 competing chilis. I didn’t think mine was anything special because it’s like chili I’ve always made – packed with 8,000 different things, set to simmer on the stove for several hours. I don’t use a recipe, I don’t plan anything special, and you can get everything at your local grocery store. In fact, when this won, several people asked for the recipe and in my mind, I thought, “Oh crap, what did I put in it?” Thankfully for you, the cans were still on the counter so I went back into time and re-created this yummy chili for you. Start it a couple hours before you want to eat, and keep it on low and slow for a few more hours. Serve it with a handful of shredded cheese, a dollop of sour cream and frosty beer and then you’ve really got a super bowl – of goodness, that is.
1 pound lean ground beef (I used 95% lean)
1 yellow onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
6 Strips of Fried Bacon, Crumbled
1 can of White Northern Beans, drained and rinsed
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can of chili beans (do not drain)
1 large can of Ro-Tel (Diced tomatoes with chilies) (do not drain)
1 small can of Ortega green diced chilies
1 can of corn, drained and rinsed
1 small can of tomato paste
1 small can of tomato sauce
3 TBSP Taco Seasoning
1 TSP Cayenne
3 TBSP Frank’s Red Hot Wing Sauce
1) Brown the ground beef with the onion, green pepper, and garlic in a huge pot.
2) If there’s any fat in the pot, drain it, but there probably won’t be since the meat is so lean. If you used fattier meat, of course, drain it out.
3) Start opening the 10 million cans used in this recipe. Add everything – the beans, the ro-tel, the tomato paste, the bacon, the tomato sauce, the corn, the seasoning, the Frank’s Red Hot Sauce. Stir well, let sit on low for 15-20 minutes.
4) Give it a taste. Is it flavorful? No? Add more salt, or some srircha, or some pepper, whatever you think it needs. If it’s too thin (it shouldn’t be, if you followed this recipe), add more tomato paste. Hope you had an extra can!
5) That’s it. Yeah, ridiculously easy, right?!
6) Enter your local chili cook off and WIN.
PS: I’m seriously thinking about adding the line “Chili Cook Off Champion” to my resume. Bragging rights = best prize ever.