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What to do while we wait? Make chili!

January 23rd, 2014 by Chris Henry

Ten days, 43 minutes and 2 seconds until our Seahawks meet the Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII. That is unless a snow storm “of massive proportions” plays havoc with the game.

In case you just arrived from another planet, kickoff is at 3:25 p.m. (PST) Sunday, February 2, at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

I am the epitome of a fair weather fan. I’ve watched one football game start to finish … ever. And guess which it was? Lucky me.

Now, like everyone else, I’m counting down the days until the Superbowl. So I can relate totally to fans at the End Zone Sports Pub in Port Orchard, who have a strategy to make the waiting (and a weekend without pro football) less agonizing.

“What about the Pro Bowl?” I asked Janet Wilson, who owns the pub with husband Steve. “Doesn’t that count?”

OK well, you can see I’m a newbie. The feeling of the End Zone’s customers about the Pro Bowl is a unified, “Meh.”

So what are they going to do with all that down time? Make chili.

The End Zone plans a chili cook-off at 1 p.m. Saturday. It’s a tradition started six years ago by a handful of customers just trying to kill time’ til the Super Bowl. Last year, there were close to 25 entries. Most who enter are guys. There have been some husband versus wife match ups. Last year’s winner was Lisa Gilliand.

Variety (not necessarily heat) is the name of the game in this crowd, many who are hunters.

“We’ve had elk; we’ve had salmon; we’ve had chicken,” said Janet Wilson (no relation to Russell, unless I missed something). “We’ve had some horrible ones. A lot of them were men who didn’t know what they were doing.”

But they’ve come along, learned a lot over the years. “I think the guys generally want to be the best cook,” Wilson said.

There are no rules in this “customer driven” contest. The prizes are bragging rights, your name on a plaque and the chance to wear the Chili Crown for a day.

A panel of six judges makes the call on the best batch. There’s also a people’s choice award. Once the judging is over, they break out the cornbread and cheese and the feast is on.

Speaking of chili, I will now reprise a recipe for Uncle Dan’s Habañero Hellfire Chili given to me courtesy of Dan Saul. Saul, related to the owners of Hubert’s Christmas Tree Farm, was handing out samples when I did a story on the farm in December 2012. It was the perfect thing after stomping around in the cold and rain. Warmed you right up and then some.

Uncle Dan’s chili consists of little chunks of beef and pork swimming in a fragrant, spicy broth, with grace notes of chocolate and the kick of 15, count them, 15 habañero peppers (for a recipe that serves 20). Not so secret ingredients include bittersweet chocolate, strong coffee and a quart of dark beer. Is it hot? Heck, yeah!

Uncle Dan is a colorful character. You can read all about him in my original blog post about the chili.

Here’s the recipe for Uncle Dan’s Habañero Hellfire Chili. Don’t say you weren’t warned. (If you don’t need 20 servings, hopefully you can do the math to cut it down.)

Serves 20

Ingredients:

4 onions, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
3 pounds ground beef
2 pounds ground pork
15 jalapeños, seeded and chopped
15 habañero peppers, seeded and chopped
20 Anaheim peppers, seeded and chopped
1 quart dark beer
4 cups coffee (strong brewed)
2 (28-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes
5 (16-ounce) cans chili beans
1 (six-ounce) can tomato paste
1 cup chili powder
2-ounces bittersweet chocolate, shaved into fine pieces
1/4 cup lime juice
1 tbsp. cayenne pepper
3 tbsp. cumin
3 tbsp. smoked paprika

Directions
In a stock pot brown beef and pork over medium-high heat
Season with salt and pepper
While meat is browning, stir in all ingredients except beans
Reduce heat to simmer for two hours, stirring occasionally
Add beans and continue simmering for 45 minutes.

“Bon appetite,” says Dan.

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One Response to “What to do while we wait? Make chili!”

  1. Rosie Atkinson Says:

    Hey, Chris: My husband Charlie Atkinson has a recipe in our family’s cookbook called “DooDah Chili. Can you guess why? I will email a copy from the cookbook. It is the best chili I ever et! He can no longer cook his famous chili or “Killer Meat Loaf” because he lives in a nursing home next door to my apartment house; they won’t let him play with knives or fire.

    Just saying’

    Rosie Atkinson
    Wife of the WBC (World’s Best Cook)

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