Annual Beford Chili Cookoff!!!

So over the weekend I attended my aunt’s annual chili cook-off. I took home a prize last year so I was hell bent on a repeat this year. It is a Family event that Amy has hosted for at least 13 years if I remember correctly. Though last year was the first time the stars aligned and I was able to attend. Since I had such a good time last year I marked my calendar and was certain to attend again this year armed with the finest one pot of beans and spice I could come up with.


After winning Tastiest chili last year, I was feeling a little full of myself. I embarked on a new line and headed down the path least taken. I decided last November that I was going to undertake seafood in my chili this year.


So the planning began. I wanted a chili that was not chowder, no cream, no corn, and no potatoes. I started thinking of what beans I wanted to use. Now I will freely admit that when I list my ingredients and cooking techniques, that both are overdone.  I like to cook. I will go to great lengths to get exactly what I want in a dish. No amount of dishes and time will deter me from my goal of putting out my finest.


I usually cook my chili over several days. This year I cooked for three days in a five day stretch resting the beans, corn stock and tomato stock for two days. So here goes the ingredient list for the chili:


Corn stock:

6 cobs of corn

1/2 a sweet onion

1/2 stick of butter

6 medium cloves of garlic

2 bottles of New Belgium ale w/ coriander

Merlot salt

Cracked pepper

Onion powder



Tomato stock:


5lb of heirloom tomatoes



1/4 cup onion

4 cloves of garlic

Olive oil



2 cans black eyed peas

2 cans chickpeas

2 cans butterbeans

Salted Pork belly

1/2 a sweet onion

6 cloves of garlic


3 red jalapenos

6 Anaheim peppers

1 Bud light


Chili ingredients other than the ones listed above:


1lb Jumbo lump crab meat

1lb mussels

1/4lb squid heads

1/2lb sea scallops

1/4lb aged smoked maple wood bacon

Chili powder

Cayenne powder

Garlic powder


Sea salt


Black pepper


Chorizo (Mexican sausage)

Smoked paprika

Bud light (1 bottle)

1 can red beans

2 cans pink beans


Yes this makes a lot of chili. I made 12 quarts this year. I had maybe 1/2 a quart left. I figured enough for 75 people to taste and 20 to have a bowl or three.


So now that we have assembled spices, ingredients, proteins, beans, pots, pans

grown peppers and tomatoes; it is time to cook.


Day 1:  Dice tomatoes; add onions, garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil to 5 quart crock pot. Cook on low over night.


On a sheet pan covered with foil, place peppers, coat with oil, salt and pepper.

Place in a 375 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Take out and let cool. Once cool place in plastic bag for later.


Day 2:  Turn off tomatoes and let them cool. Once cool place in blender and puree. Once puree is done place through a food sieve. Discard pulp and seeds.

I take this step to eliminate any bitterness they may cause. Refrigerate.


Next I prepare the corn puree. Into an eight quart pot I placed 6 cobs of corn cut from the cob and cobs in a the pot, butter, merlot salt, both bottles of ale, garlic, onion powder, turmeric, pepper and bring to a boil. Once to up to heat, remove cobs and scrape out the milk. Once cool puree in blender and place through a sieve to remove pulp and solids. Place in refrigerator.


In crock pot place beans(chick peas, butter beans, and black eye peas), pork belly, cilantro, jalapeno, Anaheim, garlic, onion and a bud light. Remember to wash and drain the beans. I use beer instead of water in all of my chili. In addition to flavor the beer is filtered and has the right acidity to balance the other ingredients in the chili. Leave on low overnight. Once cooked, cool and refrigerate.


After two day of becoming happy in the ice box remove and place back in the 12 quart crock pot. Add tomato, and corn purees. Chop cook, and bacon, and chorizo into pot. Turn to warm and cover. Now it is time to cook off scallops, squid, mussels and clams; I sautéed them in butter, onions, and garlic. The clams and mussels I add in addition that other bud light, you can use wine, or water if you choose. If using water please use salt and pepper to season. Cool clean and place in refrigerator. Reduce and add saffron and add stock to chili. Cook overnight. The crab I bought cleaned and cooked. Season to taste. I will allow you to season to your taste I added a 1/4 tsp. of dry spices except paprika, which I added 1/2 tsp.   You have layered the seasoning so much, that not much additional seasoning will be needed. I suggest if you want it spicier to add hot sauce from a bottle when eating.


If serving add seafood after 4 hrs. of cooking. At this point add 2 tablespoons of honey and a touch of salt.


Yes it is way over the top, a lot of cooking and meant as a one off. If you go to the great extent of these steps I hope you enjoy eating it as much as I did making it. I spent roughly $150.00 US on this chili. Worth every bit!!


I did win again, this time in the most unique category! Next year owfl chili coming to a table near you.!!


Till next time good gardening!!

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