After the Row-solution (Team Marathon Row) we had a wonderful Chili Cook Off! A huge thank you to the 10 people who made chili for the event! I know everyone appreciated the food, plus it was a lot of fun taste-testing all the different types of chili. Our own Coach Cherie won the Chili Cook off getting half the votes placed! I guess people loved the spiciness of her chili (and her whit)! Below is her “recipe.”

Cherie’s Chili

First off, if you are a diehard, measure everything precisely kind of cook, you might hate this recipe. Please view what I write here more as a “guideline.” I encourage you to be adventurous and swap out different veggies, or meats, with whatever you may have in the fridge or pantry. The joy I find in cooking is with trial and error, thinking outside the box, and using up what I have on hand, rather than running to the store for specific ingredients. Get in the kitchen. Have fun. Enjoy.

P.S. This definitely does not fit in the low fat category

4-5 Tablespoons cooking fat – I used half/half bacon grease and butter
2-3 poblano chiles, chopped
2 bell peppers, chopped – whatever color you have on hand
2 jalapeños, chopped (you can always add more if you like it hotter)
2 medium to large size onions, chopped
1 head garlic, peeled and minced
2 pounds ground beef
1 pound sausage – I used chorizo for extra spice (did I mention I like things hot)
32 ounces canned diced tomatoes
12 oz can tomato paste
2 cups tomato sauce
2-3 cups chicken, beef, ham, veggie, whatever stock/broth

All of the above ingredients can be switched up. Only have 1 pound beef, but two pounds sausage? Fine. No poblano? Add another bell pepper. I do find that the poblano adds a nice flavor though. I had some chopped green tomatoes hanging in the freezer, so I threw them in too. Add beans if you want. Anything goes.

This is what I used, but adjust to your taste.

3 Tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoon cayenne
2 teaspoon coriander
2 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoon kosher salt (I started with this amount, then added more, to taste, when it was finished)
2 teaspoon black pepper

In a large stockpot or dutch oven, sauté all the peppers (poblano, bell, jalapeño) and onions in the cooking fat of choice, until softened and slightly caramelized (about 5-10 minutes on medium to medium high heat). Add garlic, sauté for a minute or two. Use a slotted spoon to remove veggies to a bowl. In the same pot, add the beef and sausage. Cook, stirring gently, trying not to break up the beef too much, until all the meat is browned. Slotted spoon…move the meat to the bowl with the veggies. If there is more than a tablespoon or two of fat left in the pot, pour that out. Put the pot back on the stove, add the can of tomato paste. Add all of the spices to the tomato paste. Cook, while stirring occasionally, on low to medium-heat until browned/caramelized, but not burned. Add the stock (add enough stock to make it saucy, without making it too watery – I used a little more than two cups)to thin the paste. Add the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. Keep stirring until combined. Take off the heat.

Now you have options on how to finish it…
Add everything back to the pot – veggies, meat, saucy goodness, and beans, if you’re using them – and simmer away for two hours, stirring every once in awhile.

Throw everything in your electric pressure cooker, stir to combine, and cook on high pressure for 22 minutes. Allow for natural release, if you have time.

Toss it all in a crockpot and let it go on low for 8 hours.

Get Rob to clean up all the dishes and mess you made in the kitchen. Then sit down with your favorite people to enjoy. I made this the night before. Cooled it and reheated it. Chili always seems to taste better on the second day.

I’m a sucker for the chili add-ins – cheese, sour cream, chopped lettuce, chopped onions, chopped tomatoes, olives, avocado, cornbread, tortilla chips…Again, anything goes.

Enjoy you guys. Be sure to let me know how it turns out.