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Chili Cook-Off

cgray posted this January 2nd, 2013

Tradition says: For prosperity, eat black eyed peas on New Year’s Day.
We say: For good vibes and happy tastebuds, have a chili cook-off with your coworkers the week before New Year’s.

There were many delicious entries, including a vegetarian curry chili recipe.  As usual, it was a difficult call… here’s the winner, based on its explosion of flavors that, in some circles is considered palate searing, while in others is thought of as pleasantly spicy.

Stewed beans and cornbread.  Who knew complete satisfaction could be found so easily?

This recipe comes from our creative director, Jason.  It probably won’t surprise you to hear he’s from Texas.

Irwin Chili

4 lbs flank steak
2 tbsp flour
2 lbs center cut pork chops
1 tbsp cumin powder, crushed oregano leaves
3 cups chopped white onions
½ cup chopped celery (about 2 stalks)
4 medium tomatoes, chopped (or use a 14 oz can diced tomatoes)
2 tbsp vegetable oil (or olive oil)
4 cans (7 oz size) chili salsa
4 chilis roasted green chilies Anaheim variety (or one 10 oz can diced)
2 tbsp mild New Mexico ground chili powder
2 tbsp medium New Mexico ground chili powder
2 tbsp hot New Mexico chili powder
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 quart water
Salt and garlic salt to taste

Coarsely grind 2 lbs of flank steak (they can do this at the market). Cut remaining 2 lbs flank steak into 3/8” pieces. Toss the steak with the flour. Cut pork into ¼” squares.
Cook steak and pork separately in a large, heavy kettle. Stir frequently until meat changes color.
Combine meats in large kettle.  Add cumin & oregano and cook ½ hour, uncovered.
In a 2 quart sauce pan cook onions and celery in 2 tbsp olive oil for 10 minutes. Stir in chili powder, roasted chilis and garlic.
Add tomato-chili mixture and water to meat and stir. Cook for 1 to 1 ½ hours until thickened.
The last ½ hour should be just under a simmer. Stir now and then. If necessary, add water for desired consistency.
Add salt to taste.
Makes 1 ½ gallons.
I recommend cooking a day or more in advance – it’s better after sitting a bit. We like to top it with chopped onion and grated, sharp cheddar cheese. I also usually serve stuffed jalapeños. You can make these by halving pickled, whole jalapeños.  Remove the seeds and chop up some of the pickled carrot (in the brine) with softened cream cheese.  Add some of the pickle juice to blend. Wash and dry the jalapeños halves and stuff with this mixture.

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