I entered my condo association’s recent chili cook-off with a lot of confidence: I’m a good cook. I make a decent chili. How tough can the competition be anyway?
Pretty tough, as it turns out. I lost big time.
She didn’t rub it in, but my good friend, who doesn’t cook much but grew up in Texas, did well in the voting with a chili boasting a substantial amount of red wine. Who doesn’t like wine in their food? I certainly do.
A chili labeled simply “Mexican” and served with a side of guacamole also fared well. Who doesn’t like guacamole? I do.
In hindsight, I entered with too much confidence, convinced that I had a secret weapon. My special ingredient was a dark chocolate balsamic vinegar that I picked up in Door County. The label next to the bottles said a tablespoon or two would give chili a wow factor. It was good. I’m not sure that it was wow. At least, it wasn’t as wow as wine or guacamole, but then, what is?
Here’s the recipe:
My Chocolate Chili
1 pound ground beef
3 15-ounce cans of red kidney beans, washed and drained
30 ounces tomato sauce
1 onion, chopped
1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
4 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons Fat Louie’s Dark Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar
salt (if you need it)
Brown the ground beef and drain the grease. Put the beef and the rest of the ingredients in a Crock-Pot and cook on high for one hour. Then cook on low for at least two hours, or until you are ready to eat.