Saturday, January 20, 2007

Chili Festival: Frank X. Tolbert's Bowl of Red

With some potatoes and sugar I rescued my over-salted Frank X. Tolbert chili and submitted it to our judges. I also threw in some kidney beans, which means it's wasn't genuine Texas chili. The feedback was positive - Lawrence enjoyed it immensely, though Uncle Al would have preferred more vegetables. My own feeling is that, for its simplicity and prominent chili flavour, this is one of the best I've had. I learned a couple of things in making it (aside from going easy on the salt). First, equal portions of oregano, cumin, and cayenne is the right ratio for the non-chili spices. I also think that these are all you need. Salt can be added at the end and spices like black pepper, cilantro, bay leaves, etc., are gratuitous. Second, if you have time, choose cubed meat over ground chuck. It tastes better and breaks down to the consistency of pulled pork. Third, my mother taught me to cook the chili powder first. Most recipes call for adding it after cooking the meat, but I cook the chili in the pot with some onions and oil at the beginning. I don't know why, but it's more flavourful. For next week's chili, my mom sent me a recipe that she clipped from Canadian Living. I'm interested to see what the cocoa powder does for the dish.

I'm cooking a pot of chili each week or so and submitting it to an international panel of judges in London, Ontario. Readers are invited to submit their own chili recipes or feedback if they're cooking along at home. The winning chili, to be announced in March, will be cooked out in the parking lot at the 2007 Palmer Rapids Twin Music Festivals.


Road Hammer said...


Do tell.

David said...

I was told that adding sugar can remove the saltiness of a dish. Something to do with acids and bases, but I really didn't pay any attention in grade 7 science. The combination of simmering with two whole potatoes, adding a tablespoon of brown sugar, and a can of kidney beans did the trick.

David said...

By the way, are we going to get a taste of the Hammer's Manwich Chili?

Road Hammer said...

Eventually, yes.

Brad said...

Vegetarian Chili

I make this one a few times a winter. I'm not a big vegetarian food fan, but I swear by the authenticity of the final product. It helps to supply vitamins and keep the pounds off, especially in the wake of New Year's resolutions.

I think the only critical bit is to use Yves Veggie Ground Round (the ground beef substitute). It's almost impossible to tell the difference between the texture of Yves and real beef, which is key.

2 packages Yves Veggie Ground Round
2 packages of chili mix of choice
1 can of red kidney beans
1 can of mixed beans
1 can of black beans
1 can of whole tomatoes (slice before adding)
1 head of asparagus
red pepper
green pepper
yellow pepper
1/8 of an onion
two handfuls of mushrooms