Friday, October 15, 2010

Dragon Breath Chili - Contest Winner

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,  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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