For our office's Holiday party fund raising, we held a Chili Cook Off Contest. While normally, I guess, I assume, that the recipe has to be your own, since there is no such rule for this contest, I thought I try Dragon Breath Chili recipe by Guy Fieri, Foodnetwork.com. I am sure I would have won just the same with my own recipe, but the name of the Chili is very intriguing - "Dragon Breath Chili" - sound deadly hot? or spicy? or fiery? Is it going to be fiery hot that you will be blowing steam or fire from your mouth? hmmm... very interesting. So, I set to work on to study the recipe, then, I decided on doing this in two days. Cook with what I have, then, purchase what I don't have the 2nd day. Italian Sausage is one of the ingredients and Lager beer. I had a 2nd thought about this, but my "becoming a chef" discipline is telling me to be brave and test something new. It's my quest for the rest of the year. I could skip the sausage, but I ventured out to look for the "bulk" Italian sausage. Luckily it was not difficult to find at Foods Co. I found the Chuck steaks, too. Great! But no Poblano. I did some wikipedia check to find out how this "Poblano" looks like and drew the picture on my shopping list. Nope, no Poblano. Got fresh Anaheim and Jalapeno. Regardless, I browned all the meat ingredients. I thought there would a lot of fat from the Italian sausage, but surprisingly I only had about 1/8 cu fats from browning lean ground beef, Chuck cubes, and Italian sausage. I decided to cook them in crockpot overnight. I added home made chicken stock and whatever all the dry spices that I have on hand in my pantry. Then, placed beans on top. Didn't want to mix them up yet. They will get too mushy, as they are canned beans. Normally, when I make my own Chili, they are cooked in my pressure cooker, etc. Instead of Kidney beans, I chose Black Beans. On the Day 2, I found Poblano... and ground coriander. I wished my tomatoes in my garden are all ripe, but it's been 4 months, and they are still green. So, to follow the recipe, purchased canned tomato sauce and paste. Tasted the Day 1 mixture of the meat in the crockpot. Wow! actually why should I add any other ingredients? it tasted really good as is. But, then, the "rule" and my quest popped up in my head - "Follow the recipe". So, I got busy right after work and started to roast the peppers - over the open fire - I was pretending that it is safe and okay. After all I have been watching Julia Child and Jack Peppin for the last months and Tyler Florence's TV episode to Mexico. They all roasted peppers on open fire and dunk them into a bowl water and peel the darkened peel. Save time! but kind of messy at the stove. (I have done that in my counter-top electric oven.)
But it was a good experience. I let the whole ingredients cook in the crock pot the 2nd day from 10 pm to 6 am. Then, again from 8:30 am till 11 am. The taste? It's definitely "Chili". Not tomato-ish or tart or just hot. It's a medley of flavors, all 15 spices that tantalizing every part of the tongue. Meat are very tasty. Flavor has infused through every bite of the meat and beans. At 2 pm, the announcement came through - the winner of the Chili Cook Off contest is "Dragon Breath Chili".
Hope you will it a try and surprise yourself.
When I cook this again for my family, I would make them my family famous "Sopapilla" served with Honey. Cover the chili bowl with Cheddar cheese.
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