Road Kill Chili
I never did post the recipe for my "Road-Kill Chili" that won the 2011 Annual Manitowoc Christmas Parade Awesome Chili Cook-Off Death Match (I'm going with the notion that the more words you can fit into the title the more impressive it is; capitalizing the first letter of each word also lends an air of authenticity and prestige to the title). We held the potluck…er, I mean the 2011 Annual Manitowoc Christmas Parade Awesome Chili Cook-Off Death Match was held on November 23rd. I think there were a half-dozen entries, which I think is pretty impressive for something that was organized and marketed only a week before the actual event. And when I say organized and marketed I mean Kim (Geiser) made a facebook post that basically said, "Hey, anyone want to get together at my place during the Christmas Parade? How about if we each make some chili and we'll have a 'best chili' contest?" Such is the origin of many great and long-standing events.
This was the "trophy" for the chili cook-off: A bottle of merlot and sombrero.
There were some darn tasty chilis on the table, including a meaty chocolate chili from Jason Prigge, former chef of the much-missed Element Bistro in TR (I'm sharing that bit of information to reveal how stiff the competition was, which of course adds even more prestige to my victory…yes!). Best of all, the night was a lot of fun. Anyway, here's the recipe for the winning chili:
Road Kill Chili
I called the dish Road Kill Chili not because I incorporated any actual road kill, but because I used a couple ingredients I had foraged/hunted…that, and because it just sounds cool.
Ingredients (no amounts here because I did it off the cuff and didn't really measure anything)
- Chicken stock (I made my own stock but you can, of course, use any store-bought stock)
- A couple of de-boned squirrels (or rabbits, venison, chicken or whatever meat you prefer, chunked small)
- Apples, 4 or 5, peeled and chopped
- Ground spices: cumin, curry, salt, pepper, chili powder, nutmeg
- Hot sauce, I used just a couple of dashes of the hot sauce I make
- Onions, 2 of them, chopped
- Garlic, couple cloves minced
- Olive Oil
- Heavy Cream (or half-&-half or whole milk if you don't have cream)
- Flour, maybe 1/2 cup
- Pinto beans, couple cans
- Melt some butter and a bit of olive oil over medium heat in a very large saucepan. Add the apples and onions and cook until they start to soften, maybe 4-5 minutes. Add most of the minced garlic; save a pinch for the meat. Season with a good amount of cracked pepper. Season with the other spices but less so because you're going to use the same spices on the meat and you don't want to overdo it. You don't want to overcook this; pull it when everything is cooked but still firm. Dump it all into a big pot and set aside.
- Add to the same saucepan you just used a little more olive oil and butter and heat over a low-medium heat. Add the meat, lightly salt and pepper it, and cook until tender over low heat. When it's about halfway finished add the pinch of garlic and season it with the spices like you did with the onions and apples.
- While the meat is cooking add chicken stock to the pot with the onions and apples, reserving a cup or two of the stock in another bowl. Add flour to the reserved stock and whisk until it gets creamy. Add the creamy stock to the pot and stir it all together.
- When the meat is finished add it to the big pot as well. Heat over low-medium heat. Rinse the beans and add to the pot. Gently stir everything together. Add the cream (or half-&-half) and stir. Give it a dash or two of hot sauce. When the whole thing is at a palatable temperature taste it and add any additional seasoning you think it might need.
- Ladle it up, pour a good lager for yourself and anyone else who's joining you, tell a few stories or watch the parade and enjoy!