There was a charity chili cook-off at my day job today. It’s kind of a funny story how I got involved: I was walking through the office, and a woman asks me if I’m going to make chili. I didn’t know about the cook-off, so I was like, “Uh… no…”
Later, I went to a meeting, and my boss said, “Oh! Matt can make chili!” I got that strange turny-stomach feeling, as if some kind of prophesy were playing out right before me. I had never made chili before, and these people were talking about me making it.
Well, I learned about the cook-off, and I got kind of excited, because I have a crock pot, but it just sits there and gets dusty, and I have to clean it every so often. Aristotle would say that it is unhappy because it’s not performing the task it was made to perform: cooking things really slowly.
Thursday night came around, and I boogied over to the grocery store and bought raw materials as opposed to the microwaveable stuff I usually pack into my shopping cart. On the way home, Black Sabbath’s “Children Of The Grave” came on the shuffle, and my chili’s name came to me: Chili Of The Grave.
I made my chili, and almost used a habanero pepper a lady gave to me (I thought it was an Anaheim pepper)… I brought my chili in this morning, and I WON THE EFFING CONTEST!! It was the most labor-intensive cooking project I had ever undertaken, not to mention the first time I ever made chili. With this chili, I took top place in a field of 12 or 13. I won a kick-ass apron equipped with a tethered bottle opener and a beer holder.
So, loyal readers, I decided I couldn’t keep my wondrous chili a secret, and I have decided to share my recipe here with you, right now. This is a sweet, seafood based chili. Get a pen ready… or just use your printer… or save a tree and read it off your computer screen…
Chili Of The Grave
- One 12 oz. can of tomato paste
- One 12 oz. can of diced peeled tomatoes
- One 15 oz. can of pinto beans
- One 15 oz. can of black beans
- 20 oz. of raw, peeled, de-veined and de-turded shrimp
- One Anaheim pepper, cored and diced
- Two jalapeños, cored and diced
- One half of a white onion, diced
- Three garlic cloves, chopped
- One cup of brown sugar
- One cup of apple cider vinegar
- Two tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
- Three tablespoons of chili powder
- Two tablespoons of cumin
- One tablespoon of oregano
- Three bay leaves
- A teaspoon of ground black pepper
- A Tablespoon of salt
- A 99 cent bottle of Louisiana Hot Sauce
First, wash your damn hands. Use soap too. LISTEN TO ME! This is important. Washing your hands is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of infectious disease.
Are your hands washed? Good. OK, empty the shrimp into a mixing bowl, and then dump the whole bottle of hot sauce on them. Cover it with some plastic wrap, and shake it up, and then set it aside. We’ll revisit the shrimp later.
I soaked a paper towel with some vegetable oil and rubbed it on the inside of the crock to make it easier to clean later. This strategy seemed to have worked.
Next, drain out the cans of beans. I did this by partially opening the can on two sides and then setting it on the edge of the sink. I didn’t want any of that bean liquid in my chili.
Dump the tomato paste, and diced tomatoes in the crock. Then dump the vinegar, the brown sugar, the cocoa… just dump everything in there. The beans too. Don’t forget them. However, listen to this next part, because it’s important.
Don’t dump the shrimp in yet! It’s still marinating in that hot sauce. Use this time to chop things, like peppers, garlic and onions. Be careful! You don’t want to chop your finger and end up in the hospital with half-made chili sitting on your bloody counter.
When chopping the onion, you’ll probably start to cry. This is normal. It’s a very sad thing, chopping onions. I find it’s best to periodically drop to your knees, and throw your arms to the sky and scream out, “WHYYYYY!!! huuuuhhhhhh-WHYYYYYYY!!!” Because that’s how men cry. Dump all your chopped and diced things in the crock. Stir it with a wooden spoon. Throw the three bay leaves in the crock. I left them in there, and then I got yelled at because evidently they can kill people. Make sure to take them out before you serve the chili.
Now it’s time to add the shrimp. Don’t just dump them in there, because you’ll dump all the hot sauce. You can do this if you want, but I didn’t, and this recipe, mind you, is how I won an award. Stir it all up, and turn the crock pot on low. Let it cook for like eight hours. I stirred it a couple times in that period.
Serve it over Fritos, and top it with cheddar cheese, sour cream and some chopped green onions. That’s what I did. Other people just ate it. Do what you want. Once it’s in your bowl, it’s your chili anyway. Not sure how many servings it made, but Jesus could probably stretch it to 2,000 like he did with the loaves and fish.