Halloween Haunted Chili
Hey all my ghouls and goblins, hope everyone is staying healthy and happy in the spookiest time of the year. So, every year for the past 5-6 years around September/October, I and a friend from work enter a fundraiser/chili cookoff in our local community. I have never won, but got second or third. Anyway, obviously COVID-19 nixed all of that this year, like many other things.
I was trying to figure out a Halloween-themed article for the site this year. Halloween is one of my favorite times of the year and I love having a specific article for the site. But I was struggling a bit this year. I remembered my chili from last year’s contest. I always try to come up with a theme and in 2019 I wanted a spooky theme. The classic witch look/idea in my head for some reason. The classic hat, crooked nose, broom, etc… I always loved that imagery for Halloween and somehow wanted to incorporate that in a chili for the contest. I came up with the 5 pepper haunted chili and wrote a little story for it. So I will share my short story and chili recipe for y’all! Hope everyone enjoys and has a happy Halloween!
The Tale of the 5 Pepper Haunted Chili
One dark and dreary night, as the full moon shone bright, illuminating the land in a clandestine silver shine…as the fog rolled in off the moors and the owls silently watched the forest doors…a Witch sat in her old dilapidated house in the thick of the woods by her black, rusted cauldron brewing up a vile and terrible spell. Her long crooked nose heaved in the delightfully decadent smells emanating from her brew. With her last ingredient, added at the peak of the witching hour, the task was complete.
She cackled to herself. “Yes, the most devilish plan I have ever had!” she exclaimed as the rats scurried across her feet, frightened at the sudden noise of her strangled voice “A chili so delectable and tasty that no one will be able to resist”—her voice reached a fever pitch—“a chili so good everyone will eat; little do they know after a mere taste they will be haunted forevermore by the spirits of the five chilis that inhabit this meal! Their dreams will dance with ghouls and goblins with monstrous faces and ghastly visions; they will hear cackles and screams as my chili haunts their dreams!” The Witch laughed with glee, a laugh so fiendish that it silenced the wolves howl and the forest grew quiet. The chilis, harvested from wicked, dreadful, accursed ground were the key. Five cursed chilis grown in cursed ground was the only way.
The Witch grabbed her wide-brimmed, conical-crowned hat, with a color that could only be described as “black as midnight on a moonless night”. She draped herself in a long thick shawl to keep out the night air. She hopped on her old, crooked wooden broom and grabbed her dark, rusted cauldron. Off to the chili cook-off she flew, with her haunted chili in hand! Cursed be anyone who eats the 5 pepper haunted chili this day! Forever will their nights be tormented and troubled, sleep that will never come! A curse that will be forever and ever… that is, unless the chili wins first place!
Okay, so the 5 Pepper Haunted Chili is a rather basic chili recipe, but really picking 5 peppers of your liking, depending on how spicy or not-so-spicy you like your chili. I also tend to make my chili without beans (Texas-style) but you can add beans if you like. So for my recipe I used one red chili, one green bell pepper, one jalapeno, one serrano pepper and a little bit of a habanero pepper. Again, depending on how spicy you want your chili, add as much or as little of the peppers as you like or switch them out for not-so-spicy varieties. And depending on how many people you are cooking for, obviously you will have to increase the recipe.
2 lbs ground beef
Yellow onion, diced (1)
Bell pepper, diced (1)
Serrano pepper, diced (1)
Jalapeno pepper, diced (1)
Red chili, diced (1)
Habanero pepper, diced (1)
Garlic cloves, minced (2)
2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes
2 ½ tablespoons chili powder
1-1/2 teaspoon salt
∼1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 small can tomato paste (optional, depending on thickness)
Start by browning your meat in a large skillet with a little oil on medium-high heat 10-20 minutes until not pink anymore; be sure to drain the fat. I like to sauté my peppers, onions, and garlic in a separate pan. You can skip this step and just dice them and toss them in the crockpot, but you get a ton more flavor if you sauté them for 5-10 minutes with a little butter or oil.
Next put your meat, peppers, onion, and garlic into the crockpot. Add your tomatoes, salt, and other spices. Give it a good mix and let it cook. I usually like it low and slow for 6-8 hrs, but you can cook it on high for 3-4 hrs if needed.
Are you going to try the recipe? Or are you afraid of ghosts?