Here at Righteous Felon, we're Chili Guys. Big ones. When the Cawley boys were young bucks, we were each enrolled in a ridiculous amount of sports, cub scouts, music lessons, you name it...the things that kids did before the Interweb came along. Our mother, Trish, carted us around endlessly to each of these activities before and after her full day of work. This left basically zero time for her to prepare dinner each night, though we were rarely all home at the same time anyways. But Trish is smart - she had an arsenal of recipes that she could produce in large batches, portion out, freeze, and disperse on command throughout the week when her offspring required a quick and delicious, hearty meal. Chili was one of the "big guns" within this arsenal, and she had a killer recipe.
Over the years Trish had to modify this recipe as Michael, our eldest brother, struggled to find himself in his twenties and dealt with an on-again-off-again struggle with Vegetarianism and all the typical baggage that comes along with the horrible disease: dreadlocks, eastern medicine, prolonged periods between showers, etc. As a result, the beef was sometimes replaced with spinach and, of course, this didn't sit well with anyone.
Though Michael still struggles with Vegetarianism to this day, his condition has been downgraded to "Selective Vegetarianism" - which is great because it provides the flexibility for him to only eat meat whenever he wants, and then when he doesn't, he can still guilt-trip everyone else who indulges. More importantly, it allows him to internalize the oxymoronic lifestyle of the world's first and only Vegetarian to own a beef jerky company. But, in the midst of his 20-something-food-identity-crisis, he still managed to found the now legendary "Chili in the Willy", an annual Chili Cookoff held in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It is now in it's 8th year and considered by many to be the single most influential flavor event in modern culinary culture. Harvey Keitel, even showed up one year (Yes, "The Wolf" from Pulp Fiction). This year it will be held on February 21st at King's Tavern in East Williamsburg and all are welcome. More info on the event here.
...Back to the recipe. Trish would make this in big batches mostly due to two things we lacked in the 90's: time and money. Now, as I find myself, somehow, already in my late 20's and having left a cushy corporate job in exchange for a career as a struggling jerky salesmen, I find myself lacking the same two things. Trish's Chili to the rescue. This recipe is awesome because it's delicious, inexpensive, hard to F up, and you can get a solid week's worth of meals out of it. This is essentially the same recipe that Trish would use, only I've added a spicy Hop-Devil IPA, because I have a weird obsession with craft beer, and some jalapenos because I firmly believe in the inverse relationship between spiciness and roommate theft.
Half a shot of Olive Oil
3.5 lbs - Lean Ground Beef, Roseda Farms of course
3 White Onions - Chopped (I caramelized one, for no real reason at all)
2 Red Bell Peppers - Chopped
2 Jalepenos - Chopped
3 cloves Garlic - Chopped
4 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
7 Tbsp Chili powder
2 tsp Ground cumin
2 tsp Oregano
1 can (15.5 oz) Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (15.5 oz) Black Beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (15.5 oz) Diced Tomatoes
2 bottles (12 oz each) Chili Sauce (Can substitute with tomato paste, sugar, and vinegar)
1 Can (15.5 oz) of Sweet Corn
1 bottle (12 oz) of Victory HopDevil (any IPA will do, but Hop Devil has a real spicy characteristic that I haven't tasted elsewhere...and I've drank A LOT of IPAs.)
Half Block of Cabbot’s “Seriously Sharp” Cheddar Cheese, Shredded
1 - Crack a beer, throw on your favorite playlist, and brace yourself for flavor.
2 - In a large pot or wok, heat up some olive oil
3 - Add in all the ground beef and mash it around with a wooden spoon over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until it’s all brown
4 - There will likely be a good amount of rendered fat in the pan after the beef is browned, drain this out and discard (or as Geoff adamantly advises, “LEAVE THE FAT RIGHT WHERE IT IS!”)
5 - Add in all your chopped ingredients (not the beans or corn)
6 - Add the beer, chili sauce, diced tomatoes, and Worcestershire sauce – stir into mix
7 - Add chili powder, cumin, and oregano into the mix
8 - Let this cook over medium-low for about 15 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes or so
9 - Drain the corn and beans and stir them in
10 - Keep over low heat for another 15 minutes to allow some more water to evaporate and concentrate the flavor
11 - Serve with a cold IPA
12 - Garnish with a shitload of sharp cheddar
Look forward to seeing (or tasting) any photos from any brave souls out there that attempt this recipe. Send them to @righteousfelon on Instagram/Twitter.
P.S. The Victory plaque is not a shameless plug...it's been hanging there since we bought this place, tore it down, and rebuilt it in 2009. That plaque served as a beacon of hope through the entire horrific renovation, and for that, it still hangs there today.
Bonus Feature: Geoff gazing upon a pot of chili at The Dust Factory. Circa 2012.