When it comes to chili, it’s about chiles, not about powder in a jar. It’s about dark red glories of the desert sunshine, fresh ground and fragrant, brought just within reach of the earth by toasty cumin and heady garlic. It’s about sweet heat and tingling aromas, tender beef and roasted tomatoes enveloped in warm red silk. It’s about the baking, basking heat of summertime brought to you in a brimming bowl on a winter’s night, like a memory that warms you all on its own. It’s about taste like fire light, flickering, but filling; it’s about satisfaction. It’s about the chiles.
If you don’t want some now, I don’t understand you at all.
That's the text of my sign for the chili cook off tomorrow. Believe it or not, it's toned down from the ferocious "It's the chiles, stupid!"
I went with a "gourmet" sort of traditional chili, using ancho peppers and New Mexico peppers, used chuck cut into very small cubes, added some very smokey bacon (if I erred, it was there), fresh toasted and ground cumin seeds, lots of garlic, two limes and a stiff dose of honey (some plain honey, some honey liqueur, I'm loving cooking with that stuff). The spices (the ground chiles, cumin, oregano, cinnamon, cocoa) totalled up in volume to nearly a full cup for the whole, just-under-two-gallon batch.
The last thing I want to do is share it with dozens of co-workers, though I will.
I might want to share it with some of you.
If you're good.