We’re definitely in the holiday spirit here at Geonetric. There’s the toy drive. The Secret Santa gift exchange. A cookie exchange. And my favorite – the annual Geonetric chili cook-off. Here in the Midwest we’re in what appears to be another brutal winter, and something about chili makes it a little more bearable. What I love most about the cook-off is we end up with a wide-array of chili that is as unique as our employees. We always have new additions to the cook-off, and there are always some old standards-like the one that’s too hot for 95 percent of us and a vegetarian option.
This year we spiced up our chili cook-off a bit and enlisted two special guest judges: Cecelia Hanley, the food editor at the Cedar Rapids Gazette, and Amy Johnson Boyle, a friend and active member of our community. This year we offered five categories for entrants including: Most Decorative/Unique, Best Vegetarian, Spiciest, Most Creative and Best Overall.
As I’m sure you’re dying to know, the winner of our 2008 Best Overall Chili and also the winner of the coveted spoon goes to Matt Youngblut, Technology Implementation Manager. His recipe, which also won the spiciest and most creative awards, was based on a chili he made for our cookoff last year. And because he wanted to add something sweet, he threw in some fruit.
Here’s the recipe if you want to give it a try. Note: Matt strongly recommends using gloves when making his chili, especially when handling the peppers.
2 lbs stew meat
½ lb chorizo
5 Habanero peppers (small), chopped finely, with seeds removed
8 Serrano peppers, sliced
3 Pablano peppers, chopped, with seeds removed
3 green bell peppers, chopped, with seeds removed
1 red bell pepper, chopped, with seeds removed
2 (14.5 oz) cans red kidney beans, drained
1 (14.5 oz) can dark red kidney beans, drained
2 (14.5 oz) cans stewed tomatoes, broken up with a spoon
1 (29 oz) can tomato sauce
1 large yellow onion, chopped coarsely
10 garlic cloves, pressed
1 tbsp cumin powder
1 tbsp oregano
3 tbsp chili powder
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 16oz chocolate stout beer
2 tbsp wasabi paste
Olive Oil – enough to grease pan
½ gallon apricot juice
20 oz chili mangoes (dehydrated), chopped
2 bags apricots (dehydrated), cut in half
Step 1: Place mangoes and one bag of apricots in a sauce pan. Add ½ of the apricot juice. Bring to a boil and let simmer for approximately 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally.
Simmer ½ of the onion in a large pot with garlic and olive oil for 5 – 10 minutes, or until the onions have softened. Add the habaneros, pablanos, and serranos. Cook on low, allowing the peppers to soften.
Brown the stew meat and chorizo in a frying pan. Drain grease when finished.
Step 2: Add the stewed tomatoes to the pot containing the vegetables. Allow to stew for 5-10 minutes, and then add the cumin, oregano, chili powder, salt, brown sugar, 1 tbsp of wasabi paste, and beer. Allow this to stew for 5-10 minutes.
Step 3: Add the meat, other half of the onion, kidney beans, tomato sauce, and bell peppers to the vegetables. Add the remaining wasabi paste and the remaining apricots to the mixture. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer.
Step 4:Once the mangoes and apricots have stewed for approximately 2-3 hours and have developed a thicker consistency (a thin paste), add this to the chili. Simmer for approximately 30 minutes. Remove the chili from heat and allow to cool.
Step 5:Add remaining apricot juice to chili when reheating for serving.
If you give the chili a try, make sure to let us know what you think.
We hope you have a happy holiday, from everyone here at Geonetric.