Saturday, October 27, 2007

Chili Cook-off Champ

This past week at school my class earned the opportunity to fire an entire day of Bar Food. This included everything from Chili Fries, Hamburgers, Mozzarella Sticks, Nachos, Carnitas, Brisket Sandwiches, to Root Beer Floats. Lately all we've been cooking is interesting game meat or food that is usually too expensive to order on a menu, so you can imagine that this fun menu came as a relief! I manned the chili station and boy did it turn out mmm mmm delicious. My chef suggested that I start with a Cincinnati Chili recipe and work with it a bit to make it my own. Cincinnati Chili is traditionally served over spaghetti with a hint of cocoa and cinnamon. My plan was to serve the chili over big steak fries that were fresh out of the deep frier. I know that people are usually pretty proud of their chili recipes and finally I think I've got a winner.

Thanks to my mom, I've always associated chili and cornbread with Halloweeen. I thought this recipe would be very fitting for this time of year. Happy Halloween to all!

Cincinnati Chili

2 T. oil
2-1/2 lbs. ground beef
1 qt. cold water
1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
2 large onions (diced)
1-1/2 T. vinegar
1 tsp. worcestershire sauce
1 clove garlic (crushed)
2 T. chili powder
5 bay leaves
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. allspice
1-1/2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
salt and pepper to taste

In a heavy bottomed pot, heat oil. Add beef and brown. Add garlic, onions, and water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and add tomato paste and all other ingredients. Simmer 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Adjust with salt and pepper to taste. Remove bay leaves before serving.

*NOTE* If I've learned anything at school it's that cooking should be unique to the person behind the dish. Don't get caught up in specific measurements, especially in a dish like this. Measuring all of those teaspoons and tablespoons takes WAY too long. Trust your gut with a few pinches here and there and a dash of this and that to top it off!