Homemade chili is one of my most favorite foods in all the land. My mom's homemade chili is a meal I could eat day after day (after day after day) and never tire of it. When I received an email at work last week announcing a chili party/competition - I knew I had to jump on board and participate. I have hosted my fair share of craft parties/fall dinners/football parties and served my homemade chili...always with great success + chili feedback. Soooo I will say I feel quite confident in my chili making ability. The only catch with this competition would be serving an all veggie meatless chili to an office of all meat eaters. Challenge accepted!
Typically when I go to make chili, I throw in whatever veggies I have in the fridge, a few cans of beans + tomatoes and my fair share of spices. This time I opted for following an actual recipe, though one I've never made before. I knew that I could control the spices/flavor with a few tricks up my sleeve so I decided to go for Kris Car's Crazy Sexy Bean Chili, which I renamed, Very Veggie Chili for the competition. My only alterations to the recipe was additional potatoes for bulk, adding in a red pepper, using Meatless Crumbles instead of seitan like the recipe calls for and at the end adding in an extra can of tomatoes to fill out the crock pot that I transported my chili to work in. I also, quite reluctantly, deseeded the jalapeño. Hunter and I like our food hot, hot, hot - but I didn't want to scare away any of my coworkers with the type of heat in a meal that we prefer. ( Though I will say, some time in the crock pot really did bring out the heat in the pepper so I kind of got my way after all. Ha! )
We had 6 total entries for the competition. A elk chili, a chicken chili, a rabbit chili, a beef chili, a combination of elk, bacon and bison chili and my very veggie chili. Once the competition started, I was most thrilled to see people diving into a chili labeled "Very Veggie" and didn't abandon it and turn to the always popular green chicken chili.
When it came time to announce the winners I wasn't all too surprised that the said always popular green chicken chili got first place, but I was shocked and humbled to hear that my Very Veggie got 2nd place!(!!!!) We were very cautious to keep our entries completely anonymous (though anyone who really knows me wasn't the least bit surprised that one was mine).
As silly as it might sound, I left work that night feeling so encouraged by the whole competition. I will talk about why begin vegan works for me until I am blue in the face but am never one to push and pressure it on other people (I have a blog post on this that has been in draft form for oh.... 4 months now). Knowing that my vegan chili was voted 2nd favorite in a sea of all meat chili was a massive success in my book.
So there is my first long winded chili blog entry for the fall season...and I can't promise it will be the last. Ha! Ok - so who is coming over for chili and football soon?!