We like football in our family. My son, Sam, is an especially avid, loyal Seahawks fan and you can imagine how happy we’d all be if the Seahawks were in this year’s Super Bowl! Sigh, it was an exciting season, but it was not meant to be. Let’s hope for next year! So, on Super Bowl Sunday, we will be gathered around to watch the Ravens and 49ers play and will, of course, need to eat.
My Super Bowl menu has evolved over the years to include deviled eggs, spicy Korean chicken wings, nachos (this year I’m making this Nacho Cheese Sauce) and our family chili – a thick, hearty bowl of simple beef, no beans. While I love veggie bean chili, sometimes the richness of beef is called for and that’s when I make this one.
Back in the late ‘90s, Bob entered his company-hosted chili cook-off. He and his buddy got together to create the ultimate meat chili. They wanted it to be pure beef. With beer. And spice and heat. But no beans. Now, I’m not kidding, this chili really is award winning! Judges came from CASI for the chili cook-off to taste and judge, and this chili won first prize for the meat category! I really wish I had a photo to share with you from the event, but this was back in my toddler-and-baby-days, and remembering a camera as we hustled out the door just didn’t happen. But what a thrill!
This hearty chili recipe is now part of our family repertoire, and the only tinker we’ve made is to add tomatoes ... we just really like tomatoes in our chili. Oh, and I decreased the amount of beer scrawled in the original recipe (or maybe that was the amount the guys consumed while cooking the chili?).
Making the chili couldn’t be easier as it’s done in the slow cooker. You could brown the meat and onions first in a frying pan if you’d like, but I prefer the ease of tossing everything into the crock pot, giving it a stir and leaving it to simmer all day. Fragrant spices, onions, garlic, chiles and tomatoes cook slowly with the beef, and it’s heavenly to come home to a house filled with the mouthwatering scent of chili. The beef becomes meltingly tender, and I use a couple of forks to shred and break up about half of the meat for a variety of textures. After scooping out a bowl of chili, be sure to have a toppings bar ready with green onions, corn chips, olives, avocadoes, sliced jalapenos and tomatoes. I like to add a squeeze of fresh lime to mine, too.
Robust, with a nice buzz of spice and loads of flavor, this is one to settle back and enjoy on Super Bowl Sunday!
Award Winning Beef Chili
4 pounds beef, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 onion, diced
8 cloves garlic, chopped
4 tablespoons chili powder (I use a medium spiced one from Penzey’s)
2 tablespoons cumin
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons paprika
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1-2 fresh jalapenos, sliced in half lengthwise with seeds (increase or decrease to your taste)
12 ounces dark beer
14 ounces diced tomatoes, with juice
6 ounces tomato paste
Pull out your slow cooker. Add the beef, onion, garlic and spices and stir to coat. Add the jalapeno (s), beer, tomatoes and paste and stir gently to mix. Pop the lid on, set the cooker on high for 4-5 hours or low for 6-8 hours and walk away.
When ready to serve, use 2 forks to shred and carefully break up about half the chunks of meat (the beef will be so soft it will be easy to do). Serve the chili in bowls with toppings of your choice and enjoy!