Chili is a common dinner menu item in our home. I’m not really sure why, cause even though I like chili, I’ve never craved chili to the point where I’d want to take a full day of whipping up all the multiple ingredients and stewing it in the crockpot for 8 hours or more. The chili out of the can always suited me just fine. And even then I saw it as a last resort I-don’t-feel-like-cooking item.
But somewhere along the line it was suggested that I make it from scratch, so I did, and at that point Blake said it was really good so whenever he asked for it, I obliged.
Then, I began making it for him to take on his hunting trips where he swears the guys at the camp really liked it as well so I needed to keep making it every season when he went hunting.
At some point I did enter a chili cook off, but it was a fumble on my part because I did not properly calculate the time needed to prep, mix, stew, etc. so when it came time for judging it was a flop.
Over the years I think I’ve slowly made progress with perfecting a recipe. Sure, there have been a few times where I really screwed up. One time, Blake said he wanted it really REALLY spicy so I puree’d a few jalepenos, anahiems, serranos and habeneros together (in addition to some crushed fire ants) and tossed that in, only to have Blake choke down 3 bites before giving up. I do feel slightly proud that I finally made something too hot for him, however, as usually his biggest complaint about my cooking is that it’s not spicy enough.
But, in the back of my mind I was wandering how good my chili really was. And because of this, I wanted a do-over with my Chili Cook-Off entry. So I put #65 on my list. I googled Chili Cook Offs around the area but nothing really appealing showed up. Then, one evening I happened to be having a conversation with Tacy Currey. I told her I wanted to see the progress they were making on their “broken house” out at Currey Ranch to which she replied, “Well you should just come to our Chili Cook Off next month.” Chili Cook-Off ?!?! Yes please!
John & Tacy hold this event every year for the past 3 years out at their Ranch in Dixon. Not everyone who shows up has to enter a Chili, they could also enter the Corn bread Bake-Off or just bring a side dish to share. This year, I forgot to count but I think there were about 10 Chili entries. Mine stood apart from others because I chose to use venison, instead of beef. Blake recently came into possession of a Buck who’s main diet happened to be brussels sprouts….. so our diet lately happens to be 78 pounds of buck. I was a little worried that my chili again was too spicy. I didn’t put in a single pepper this time around but I did do the standard chili powder, which for me was plenty.
Several of them were very good, so I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to win, especially cause I thought the heat in mine would deter some folks. I think there might have been about….40-60 people in attendance? But it was such a nice evening, I enjoyed just being in good company. So, it was a complete surprise when Tacy announced the winner!
Crowns never looked good on me. Which is why I am so thankful I was never Homecoming Queen. Thanks to John & Tacy for a great evening! I guess I’ll be back next year to defend my crown 🙂