Sunday, November 19, 2023

There Is Fire Where You're Going

Last night, friends Joe & Suzy hosted a chili cook-off with a bunch of folks, complete with awards for numerous recipe superlatives. Ten variations, with a wide range of ingredients, flavors, and spices. It may come as no surprise to most who know my tastes that I took the award for the deadliest heat (see the trophy at left).

I had cooked up a sizable batch of chili a few weeks ago and froze the leftover, which was almost a full pot in itself. The heat for this batch proved damned near inedible for some, and while I enjoyed its very rich, full flavor as much as any I've ever made, the fire was almost too much for me to handle. That, my friends, is some pretty special fire.

I rarely use a set recipe for my dishes — I tend to start throwing stuff together and see where it leads. Almost without exception, this method has led me to some fantastic dinners, the obvious problem being that reproducing it reliably is usually out of the question. Regardless, here's a recipe that I'd say comes about as close as possible to this most deliciously painful concoction.

Damned Rodan's Nuclear Fusion Chili
What You Need (serves four):
• 1 lb of ground Angus beef
• 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
• 16 oz. can mixed chili beans
• 10 oz. can diced tomatoes with habanero peppers (I use Ro-Tel brand)
• 2/3 cup Clamato juice 
• 7 oz. can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (I use La Coste├▒a)
• 6 oz. can tomato paste
• 1.5 oz. packet of chili seasoning powder (I use McCormick)
• tbsp chili powder
• tbsp cumin
• 2 habanero peppers, chopped fine
• juice and zest of 1 lime

For topping:
• green onions, chopped
• cilantro, chopped
• grated pepper jack cheese

What You Do:
1)  Brown the ground beef in a skillet and drain the excess grease.
2)  Move ground beef to large soup pot. Add onion, chili beans (drained or undrained, depending on personal preference), Clamato juice, tomato paste, chili seasoning powder, chili powder, and cumin. Cook on medium for 15 minutes, stirring regularly.
3)  Add diced tomatoes, chipotle peppers/adobo sauce, chopped habaneros, lime juice & zest. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
4)  Serve with your choice of toppings.
5)  Break out the fire extinguisher.

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