When I was living in Conway, Ark., I was asked to judge a chili contest for city/county employees. I did a lot of fun things when I was living in Conway, including attending sniper school, but I'm not sure any of them was as fun as judging a chili contest. If you ever get the chance, I recommend it.
The whole time I was eating all this chili, though, I just kept thinking it wasn't as good as mine. I've experimented with my chili a few times over the year, but I always go back to my tried and true (and truly amazing) recipe. I wrote about this recipe when I was working at the Fulton Sun and writing Stephanie's Kitchen. It was one of two recipes people asked me about when I was out covering stories in the community.
Without further ado:
Ingredients are pretty simple
Ground beef (I like full-fat versions and actually think ground brisket would be amazing in this chili if you're willing to spend that kind of money on a brisket just to grind it)
one large onion
one large and one medium can of tomato sauce
one can of diced chili-ready tomatoes
one can of chili beans
one can of kidney beans (light or dark and drained!)
one can of tomato paste
your favorite chili seasoning (sometimes I use my own mixture, sometimes I buy the pre-mixed kind)
a hot sauce (not Tabasco sauce. a hot pepper sauce.)
about a cup of brown sugar. (use this to taste)
Brown the ground beef and the onion until cooked through. Mix the rest of the ingredients in a large stock pot (because I only know how to cook for an army) and add two or three drops of the hot sauce and most of the brown sugar. Let it cook together and then taste. It should be sweet with a hint of heat toward the end of the bite. Add more hot sauce or more brown sugar to taste.
When you eat it, top it with your favorite extras (or use it for chili dogs!). We usually go with a little chopped green or white onion, cheddar cheese and some sour cream.
This is a lot of chili. Enough for a lot of meals, so I recommend freezing part of the batch. Then it's an easy thaw and reheat when it's a cold day and you don't want to cook!
Sorry, no photos of chili. I don't find it a very photographic dish.
What's your favorite chili recipe? Share and I'll make it (and probably write about it!)