You may be aware there’s a football game in 10 days between Brandon Browner’s former team and Brandon Browner’s current team. As tradition would have it, people who generally don’t care about football (or root for teams that never win) gather together for one evening to pretend they’ve been on one of these critical-mass bandwagons all along. People wager on the coin flip, eagerly anticipate commercials for companies who inevitably will go defunct because of the money they spent on those commercials, pretend Roger Goodell isn’t Satan for one day, speculate on what Bill Belichek did or didn’t know about Tom Brady’s deflated balls, and drink themselves into oblivion despite the next day being a normal fully-functioning work day. But mostly, and most importantly, people eat.
Whether you are hosting said event, or merely showing up to polish off your friend’s liquor cabinet, you are going to need to make a dish to keep everyone’s attention well past Katy Perry’s hopeful wardrobe malfunction. For me, that’s always been a big ol’ steaming super bowl of chili. I know, it’s not exactly reinventing the wheel. But much like the super football game being watched, people don’t want something exotic or hoity-toity, they want something familiar, dependable, and domestic. This is the Super Bowl, for God’s sake! THIS IS ‘MURICA! Save your one-bite falafel appetizers for the World Cup, hippie.
Everyone and their mother (or everyone’s mother) has a chili recipe, and everyone has a different take on what “chili” is. This is an original that I came up with a few years ago as part of a Dutch oven wedding gift, and I haven’t run into anyone who doesn’t like it. I’m not one of those guys who likes who likes chunks of beef in his chili, nor do I care for “white” chili or meatless chili (see previous hippie statement). HOWEVER, I do add baker’s chocolate to the chili, as well as cinnamon and brown sugar. I don’t have an actual culinary explanation, but I think it gives it that little extra something something.
I like chili that has some heat to it, and this one does, but I’d call it about a 6 or 7 out of 10. I don’t want something so mild I think I’m eating thickened minestrone, but I also want to be able to use my taste buds the next day. Feel free to adjust the pepper usage up or down as you see fit, though – if you have kids or true Minnesotans eating it, you may want to pump the breaks.
Lastly, this can be made on the stove in a Dutch oven or in a slow cooker. It takes about 90 minutes simmering on the stove (probably more like two hours for a double-batch), and 4-5 hours on low in the slow cooker. If you are doubling the recipe for a crowd, make sure your vessel is big enough. That’s what she said.
Of course, with any chili, if you don’t bring cheese, sour cream, and scallions to accompany your dish, you may as well have brought two quarts of kangaroo excrement, so plan wisely. Bring cornbread, too. Ain’t nothin’ wrong with that. Enjoy the food, and enjoy the footballs, regardless of the PSI.
CHILI TO THE MAX
Recipe courtesy of Max Date
Makes 6 full-meal portions
- 4 strips of cooked bacon, crumbled
- 1 pound ground beef (or ground turkey, if you’re like that)
- ¾ cup chopped onions
- ¾ cup chopped bell pepper (any colour you like)
- ¾ cup corn kernels
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 2 red chili peppers, minced (seeded for less heat)
- 1 small jalapeno pepper minced (ditto)
- 14-ounce can tomato sauce
- 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 14-ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 14-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup of American beer (Budweiser is preferable)
- 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 ounce unsweetened baker’s chocolate
- 1 bay leaf
Suggested garnishes: shredded sharp cheddar, chopped green onion, sour cream, cornbread, and hot sauce, to taste
Note: If you’re using the slow cooker, start with a frying pan. If you’re using a stock pot or Dutch oven, start with that.
Cook the bacon until crispy, and brown the ground beef. Set aside. Keep one tablespoon of grease in the pane, and sauté the onions and green pepper until onions are translucent (about 3-4 minutes). Add minced garlic, chili pepper and jalapeno and sauté until perfumed, another minute or so.
If you’re using slow cooker, transfer sautéed items and meat to the slow cooker, add the remaining ingredients/spices, mix well, and cook on low setting for 4-5 hours. Otherwise, continue with the recipe directions.
Add tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and beer, bring to a boil, then reduce to medium-low heat. Add the corn and beans, and all of the spices. Add the bacon and ground beef back to the mixture as well. Simmer, covered, on low heat for 90 minutes (2 hours for double-batch), stirring occasionally.
Serve on top of corn bread with garnishes.