Wednesday, October 19, 2011

" Win the cook - off " chili

That's right- I said it. This is "Win the cook-off" chili. Why is it called that? Well because I'm speaking into the future here. We're having our 1st ever, annual Helou/Eicher/Allen/Rudder chili cook-off next weekend and I'm just letting you all (and them) know that this IS going to be the winning recipe. There's no doubt in my mind. And I think that's all the explanation I need to give, so let's dive into this big pot!

WARNING: I made a GIANT pot. It's in my genes to make too much (thanks mom) but, it does last forever so have at it and enjoy it for the next week and a half!


  • 2 cans diced tomatoes with green chiles
  • 2 cans kidney beans
  • 1 can refried beans
  • 2 cans baked beans
  • 1 can black beans
  • 2 cans white navy beans (or whatever white beans you prefer)
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 diced fresh jalapeno
  • 1/2 lb ground round
  • 1-2 italian sausages (optional)
  • 1 small onion diced or chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 handful of noodles of your choice (optional)
  • 4-6 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • a few splashes of worcestershire sauce
  • a splash or two of apple cider vinegar
  • a splash of red wine (optional)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • chili powder
  • ground red pepper
  • cinnamon (optional)
  • salt & pepper

Find your biggest stock pot and lightly cover the bottom with olive oil, 1 clove garlic minced, the diced up jalapeno and half your italian sausage. Simmer on low and stir often, just until the garlic and meat is browned and you can smell all the goodness. If you choose to, add the splash of red wine and stir. Then add each can of beans, tomatoes and tomato paste, in no particular order, WITH THE WATER. Mix the beans with the olive oil and meat mixture. Now turn the heat up to medium heat and stir often. Add the worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar and brown sugar. Add a little chili powder and ground red pepper to taste- they both can be a little spicy so just know your limits. But remember, this is a BIG pot so the more seasoning the better, just don't overkill. (add a little cinnamon here if desired) Stir! While this is cooking, let's start the meat. In a separate pan, simmer olive oil, the remaining garlic clove, minced, and the diced onion. When they start to sizzle and get browned, add the ground round and the remaining italian sausage. Stir until browned. We like to keep the chunks a little bigger rather than TOTALLY separating the meat. It makes for heartier bites, but that's just personal preference. [IF YOU SO DESIRE, now would be the time to cook your pasta noodles and just add a little olive oil and garlic or salt. Remember not to overcook them, 9 minutes tops!] Once the meat is browned and smelling like Heaven, add it with all the juices and spices to the chili pot and stir. [add the noodles if you made them]

At this point, the chili is REALLY starting to take on an awesome flavor, so keep it cooking now with the meat added for a few more minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. When we made this, I think our TOTAL cook time was about an hour. But it can really be done in 30-45 minutes if need be. It's just really nice to get ALL the flavors cooking together over a longer period of time. I recommend an hour or more.

TIME TO SERVE! We like to serve it with a dollop of sour cream, shredded vermont white cheddar cheese and a few little chips... I leave the chips off but James loves them. :) Then we just make some toast and call it a night! Don't over think side dishes for chili. Maybe it's just my recipe, but I'll tell ya, this is a FILLING meal all on it's own. 

Yum. Yum. YUM! Nothing says, "autumn" like a big, fragrant, flavorful pot of chili on the stove. Also, what's more comforting? Hope this has inspired your kitchen's menu during this fall season and maybe given you a new lease on Halloween dinner! (it's not SO annoying being interrupted by trick-or-treaters when you're just eating a bowl of chili... also yes, I am a candy-giver-outer now, no longer a trick-or-treater- what's happened to me?) 

Happy cooking to you and I can't wait 'til you all win FIRST PLACE at your cook-offs! 
Eichers, Allens, Helous...... WATCH OUT! ;)


  1. Sid...are you cooking up something every day? Does a food blog have to be daily? You'd better contact the kitchen for the poor or James will be twice the size as your dear old

    So much fun to read your words and see the photographs....this is better than the food network!

  2. Can't wait to taste YOUR chili ! Oh my word !
    love, Mom

  3. dad... dont you remember? Im greek! Im lebanese! all we DO over here is cook and eat! ha! :) i personally think a food blog is a great thing to do daily.... why not? everybody's gotta eat every day... but once its been going awhile i might scale back to 4 times a week. Thanks for the encouragement! :)

  4. MOM! i appreciate you being kind but you and I both know its gonna be game time next week.... hit me with your best shot! ;) :) love you

  5. yikes, them are fightin' words!!!

  6. Sidney...I was so excited to get the scoop on your new blog! Love your post about the chili cook-off. We hosted one last year and it was a blast! I'll be watching for more great recipes. I LOVE to try new things in the kitchen but sometimes need some inspiration. Life is so busy with two boys and J away. Thanks for sharing:)