Last night, a hiking Meetup group I’m in organized a chili cookoff. While most people simply wanted to eat chili and contribute an appetizer/drink, I was one of about a dozen people who signed up to cook chili and be in the competition. Chili has always been one of my favorite dishes to make – it’s quick and easy, comes out great almost every time (and any mistakes can easily be covered up with sour cream or cheese), and it was the first thing I ever learned to cook, back in college.
In the last ten years (also: I cannot believe I’m already ten years out of college!), my chili recipe has evolved from that basic chicken chili I linked above. I keep experimenting with different recipes I’ve found online, and tried incorporating a few elements of one and a few elements of another. The recipe that I decided to enter in the contest was similar to a version I made for friends last fall, and my friends said they loved it, but I didn’t really know how it would stack up in an actual competition.
Well, turns out my friends’ praise was genuine: my chili ended up winning third place in the contest! (And it was a blind taste test, so I don’t think I got a boost from the fun-sounding “tequila” in the name… which is only fair given that the alcohol is cooked off anyway.)
So with that awesomely unexpected result, I figured I’d write down the recipe as I made it, and share it with all of you. Try it for your Superbowl party this Sunday!
(Can’t see the recipe above? You’ll probably need to click through from your email/RSS reader to view.)
And if you’re not cooking for a crowd, this recipe is perfect for freezing. I have about a dozen of these two cup Pyrex glass storage containers that I always use to freeze my leftovers, giving me a huge supply of ready-to-eat single portion meals in my freezer that are perfect for dinner in a hurry. And I may have packaged up some chili “leftovers” before I headed to the contest. Luckily, I didn’t run out of chili at the event ;)
Anyone else ever entered a cooking contest? One of my favorite books as a kid was the old-fashioned Ginnie and the Cooking Contest, and I’m now pretty proud that I’ve done so well in my own :)