Third place in my church’s chili cook-off five years ago cemented my belief that the Spicy Turkey Chili that I had been making every Saturday during football season for the past few years was not only a family favorite but a crowd pleaser. (Or at least the judges were fans – especially one who said mine was the best.)
I try not to brag too much, but (in my humble opinion 🙂 ) my chili is the best. I took someone else’s recipe and tweaked it until it became mine.
I make fun of my pastor, who took second place that year, because I think his chili isn’t really chili – it’s goulash. He puts weird stuff in his – vegetables that don’t belong in chili. (Also, it makes me laugh because it reminds me of Uncle Felix and the Irish cook Norah in my favorite Christmas movie, Christmas in Connecticut.)
But someone must think it’s chili, because he won the cook-off a year or two ago. That first one was the only one I entered. Just having my friend (the judge) tell me he liked mine and ask me for the recipe … well, that’s all the validation I needed.
I have to be honest: This isn’t dump-a-bunch-of-cans-into-a-pot, bam-you’re-done chili. It takes a bit of time and effort, but my version has also gotten raves at a local half-marathon held in December that Bruce and I used to direct. I’ve had runners tell me it’s better than the canned-and-packaged everything version by another cook.
So go to some trouble for your family. They’re worth it, and you’ll appreciate the difference.
Here’s the version from my other blog, in case you’re interested. That was a modification of a chef’s recipe, and I thought my version was tastier. But since then I’ve tweaked it even more. For instance, I started leaving out the teaspoon of sugar, and it’s none-the-worse, tastewise, and actually better for you (who needs added sugar?). Also, sometimes I mash half of the black beans – sometimes all of them – because Bruce (having Crohn’s disease) doesn’t always digest things the way the rest of us do. (I’m not even sure the original version includes beans.)