If you’re tracking the Chili Quest you probably noticed that we skipped a number. For some reason my past self did not shoot the second rendition. But it should be noted because there were two important changes that came out of it. After the first attempt we sought out a more robust chili powder and landed on Penzeys Spices Chili 3000. A quick sniff in their shop (and comparison against the sweeter smelling Chili 9000) had us convinced. It definitely offered a more robust flavor. Besides that I kept more true to Jenna’s recipe and opted for two large cans of crushed tomatoes (instead of the diced from the first version.) We learned that we do not like chili made with all crushed tomatoes. It’s far too sweet and almost has a marinara bent to it.
Onward and upward to version 3, which had a dubious beginning. First I realized I used the black beans I bought for this dish earlier in the week. Although based on Hubster’s disapproving look when I mentioned the lost beans, I don’t think he would have really enjoyed my impromptu play with legumes. Thankfully I had a can of white kidney beans in the pantry. They worked, but made the whole dish look a little odd. (Note to self: Shoot white kidney beans post rinse so they don’t look so gross…)
I also discovered I had a dried up head of garlic but managed to rustle up the right number cloves from my spice cabinet. Plus I had just enough chili powder for the base recipe and we ended up wanting to stir in a touch more at the end.
In the things that did go right category, I opted to go with one can of diced and one can of crushed tomatoes to try and even out the balance a bit. And some liquid smoke (which honestly kind of freaks me out) jumped in the party.
The whole thing was really good! The heat level was spot on. The consistency was perfect. The addition of sharp shredded cheddar cheese really pushed it over the top. I don’t want to say it above a whisper, but Hubster approved.
So where’s the recipe, right? For one, I need to test it again. Preferably with all red kidney beans and a new bottle of Chili 3000.
For two… now I kind of want the perfect chili….