How to make the greatest pot of chili in history.
1. Throw four chorizos in a pot. Try to find the package at the store with the least amount of English on it. That guarantees hardcore heartburn. It takes forever and a day to cook chorizo, so be sure to give yourself plenty of time to cook it. I just leave it in a pot with water on a slow boil. When the water has evaporated, I fill it again. And then do it a third time. It’ll still need some browning later on. It’s worth the extra time.
2. While your chorizo is boiling, start chopping garlic. This time out, I wanted to prove or disprove what I’d always considered an axiom: You can never have enough fresh garlic. To achieve this, chop garlic until you feel like your hands are going to fall off. When you think to yourself, “My God — that’s so much garlic!” then you know you are halfway there. Leave plenty of big chunks. You want John Schmit to look at it later and think that there’s corn in the chili, when there are actually giant garlic chunks.
3. Chop up some onions.
4. Throw the onions and garlic in your big-ass pot with a little bit of olive oil. As you are browning, shake in some cumin, cayenne and paprika. For this and every time you use cumin sing to the tune of Michael Jackson: “Why? Why? Tell ’em that it’s Cumin Nature. . . ”
5. Throw a giant chunk of ground beef into a pan. When it is brown, throw that in your big-ass pot of Cumin-Cayenne-Paprika Onions and Garlic.
6. Take your chorizo out of the pot, throw ’em on the pan. The ground beef grease will now get sponged up into the chorizo. Cut ’em up into medium-sized bits right there on the pan, til they get good and brown. Then, throw ’em in the pot.
7. Add cans of crushed and/or peeled tomatoes. Also, some canned tomato sauce. And, and this is key, tomato paste. I say, two of those little cans. Some people say one can, but I say they don’t know what they are talking about. Chili, like my women, must be thick.
8. Beans. Two little cans of black, one big-ass can of kidney. I strain ’em first — cause some of that Goya-slime is counter to what I’m about to do.
9. Shake your wrist out, ’cause this is gonna hurt. Fresh black pepper. A lot. When you think you’ve cranked in more than any human would want, keep going. And go some more. And then some more. Fresh black pepper is one of the most important steps.
10. Oregano. I’m a major supporter of oregano. I put in a lot. And then a dash more. Some people think it doesn’t belong, but I say THEY don’t belong.
11. Cumin. Go nuts. Cumin is key.
12. Cayenne. Yee-haw.
13. Paprika. Mostly for the color. It doesn’t taste like much.
14. If you have it, sprinkle in some “chili powder.” The three top ingredients are Cumin, Cayenne and Paprika anyway, but there’s some extra crap in there (chemicals?) which give everything a nice glow.
15. Sugar. A little. This, in theory, cuts down on the acid from the tomatoes. Who knows?
16. Cinammon. Also, a little. Because, as Jerry Seinfeld says, whenever you don’t know what makes something taste so good, it is always cinammon.
17. Basil. A little. Some people like basil. I’m mixed on basil. So just a dash.
18. Remember when we talked about garlic? And really going for it whole-hog? Well, no human could ever chop as much garlic as I’d like to put in. It’d take forever. So we already have enough to wipe out Transylvania that was chopped fresh, then sauteed up with the onions and spices. Now we go to Chapter II — and open up a jar of chopped garlic with oil. And we put in half. Just do it. Trust me. This moment not only separates the men from the boys, but from the snobby purists from the people who know when to trust technology and eat a damned good bowl of chili.
19. Pickled peppers. I have the red ones from a brand called Baktat. Throw ’em in whole. The heat will eventually break them up.
20. Now the hot sauce. This will change with each pot depending on what you’ve got on ya. This time I used: a tiny bit of Iguana Habanero, a large amount of Rocoto 2Hot (which is a Peruvian red pepper sauce without vinegar), and an assload of Matouk’s Calypso Island Hot Sauce (which is a Scotch Bonnet sauce from Trinidad — one of the hottest, and most flavorful sauces around.)
Creating a hot sauce blend is somewhere between alchemy and jazz. You’ll know the right combo as it is happening. And every performance is one of a kind. The above blend will never again be perfectly matched, but if you keep the right tools on you, you’ll be bound to come up with something nice each time.
21. Let simmer. For a few hours. With luck, many of your chorizo bits will explode from the heat. And the ground beef will, at times, just evaporate into the rest of the stew. This is a good thing.
22. Chop up a bell pepper for color and crunch. Add. Simmer for a few more hours.
23. Grate cheese to keep at the ready. Scallions, too, are nice (though I skipped it this time.) Sour Cream available for the weak.
There are few food porn shots of this creation. In fact, these are the only two. Some things are best just remembered in the mind. And, when the chili was out, the full on chili-rage-beast emerged and there was no time for photography.
Lemme know what YOURS tastes like. As for me, I need another Maalox.