Hearty congratulations were offered to The Blade’s own Kevin Matus recently, “for sweeping this year’s Chili Cook-Off.” In the paper’s own internal competition, Mr. Matus’ Spicy Meat Chili won prizes for Best Meat Chili, Best Overall Chili, and - perhaps most coveted - People’s Choice.
Needless to say, it was very popular.
“The Blade Chili Cook Off is one way of breaking up the monotony of everyday work to have a little fun and meet people from other departments. We have over 400 employees at The Blade spread out over 4 floors at this location and food is always a good mixer to meet other people,” says Kelly Norwood, Marketing Coordinator for the paper. There was also a 50/50 raffle, with a donation of $52 collected to benefit Mobile Meals of Northwest Ohio,
Mr. Matus’ chili certainly gave Blade employee something to talk about as they met for sampling at the cook-off. It was a triple threat rather than a three-alarm chili, though there was a representative from the Toledo Fire Department, Matt Vierlebeck, just in case. (Mr. Vierlebeck, Kevin Sweet, and I were the official judges.) This particular recipe’s spices offer flavor rather than heat or, worse, pain.
Alison Carr, of the Finance Department, won for Best Vegetarian Chili with her hearty variety that included beans. Four other chilis all vied for the titles, but the Spicy Meat Chili was clearly a tough contender to beat.
Mr. Matus, who works in digital media, says that his wife “is an excellent cook. She does most of the cooking inside. I work the grill inside and outside. We have modified a basic recipe over the years to our taste and likes. I don’t believe we have even thought of entering a chili cook off based on the fact that the recipe is sort of easy to make. There’s no exotic peppers or seasonings, however I think you can make a tasty product with everyday ingredients.”
So, what was the secret to this chili’s overwhelming success? Mr. Matus says, “I think after watching many cooking shows, the constant theme always resonates - keep it simple but make it great.”
Kevin Matus’ Spicy Meat Chili
- 1-1/2 pounds ground chuck
- 1 pound of hot sausage
- 1 large yellow sweet onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon of chipotle hot sauce
- 2 large cans of tomato sauce
- 1 small can of tomato paste
- 2 cups of water
- 2 packets of hot chili seasoning mix
- 2 cans of hot beans
- 1 tablespoon of chili powder
- 1/4 cup of sugar
Brown the ground chuck and hot sausage over medium heat. Add in the diced onion and chipotle seasoning. In a pot add in the tomato sauce, tomato paste, water and seasoning mix over low/medium heat. Add sausage/meat mixture to large pot. Add in beans, chili powder, and sugar. Gently mix together. Let pot simmer for several hours. Cool down and place in fridge for 24-36 hours. Heat and serve. It always tastes better after it has rested in its own juices for a while.
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