The confession (that need not be)
Chili was on the menu.
Last night I decided to up my chili game and borrow a page from a friend of mine who heads a chili cook off team. She won the people’s favorite category at the North Carolina Chili cook off many years in a row, so she knows her stuff.
She suggested a number of hints. One was that she had a lot of success with Costco’s stew meat. It has a combination of beefs making for a more complex chili, including some chuck, tenderloin, etc all cut down to reasonable sizes. It is probably the stuff they cut off of the bigger cuts to make them uniform in size. You then just quarter them to get the right size for chili.
Secret ingredients include cocoa powder, a few kinds of beer, beef demi glace, and even surprisingly vanilla. There also, of course, are a number of spices added bought especially for chili from a company called Pendery’s. (No, if you are like me you probably think that is a typo and it is meant to be the famous spice company “Penzeys,” but it is not a typo this is indeed another spice company with a similar, but different name specializing in chiles and spices. You can find them both at the following addresses…
So where does the confession fit in, and where does coffee fit in? This is, after all, a coffee message board. Well, my wife confessed to me after we were eating it that she had found a number of discarded shots of coffee in the kitchen and had dumped them all into my chili as a secret ingredient – secret even from the guy cooking it.
I had been trying to dial in a blend today and had three to four discarded shots that I had pulled and then sipped a quarter of while trying to pin down my favorite dose, temp, etc. The funny thing was that I had no intention of drinking them any more and could not have thought of a more perfect use for them than dumping them into our chili so the confession need not have been kept secret for so long. (When first trying a coffee I often like to pull it a bunch of times in a row at 4 different doses or 4 different temps, just to see how it reacts and to train my taste buds to predict the best brew parameters).
Anyway, it was the best chili I have ever made. I wonder if it was the secret ingredients I added or the secret ingredients my wife added?
By the way, I am more or less a Texas chili guy and I follow the saying “anyone who knows beans about chili knows beans don’t belong in chili.” I am, on the other hand, a little more lax on the competition rules about vegetables needing to be cut so small that you cannot see they are in there.
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