It’s happening in a month. En and I have to get ready to this round. Last year we won the award for the most unique chili.

Last year we did an all-meat chili mainly from Cooks Illustrated. Two beef primals and a massive pot later (which we also used to deep fry turkeys) as had five gallons of chili.

This year we plan on making up a Hungarian chili: Pörkölt. Technically it’s a chili because of the paprika. :-)

Here’s the starter recipe we’re using (though we’ll make a few small batches first):

2 pounds beef, cubed
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
4 cloves minced garlic
1 tomato, thinly sliced
1 Italian green pepper cut to strips
3 tablespoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon hot paprika
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon marjoram
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup water or as needed

Wash beef and cut into 3/4″ cubes. Soak beef cubes in cold water for 20 minutes. Discard water. Meanwhile, fry onions in lard until golden brown, add garlic. After about 2 minutes, add tomato slices and the green pepper strips. Continue frying at low temperature for 5 minutes more, then add paprika. Keep stirring, then after 3 minutes add beef cubes. Turn up the heat and stir with a wooden spoon until beef cubes are well coated with paprika. Simmer for 10 minutes then add salt, marjoram, black pepper and water. Simmer until stew is tender. Stir occasionally. Cooking time varies with the grade of meat used for the stew. If you used a good cut the pörkölt can be cooked in about an hour.

I might increase the ratio of hot paprika to the mix. The instructions say soak meat for 20 minutes. I chop of the beef and let it soak while I chop everything else. I don’t think it matters much if you go long. This goes well over spätzle (or if you prefer the Hungarian name: nokedli) or egg noodles. The longer it simmers the better it gets. The end consistency should be like a thick sauce, so when simmering you can add water to get there. It’s even better on day two.

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The batch I made up last night was the best yet. Simply amazing depth of flavor. I’m toying around with some toppings to go for the audience vote at the cook-off. Chopped raw onions worked well. Sour cream would be a natural addition. Perhaps some really sharp aged cheddar would work as well. I’m going for the interactivity component of the competition.

The one thing that worries me — and it did last year too — is that this has no filler. This is beef. Nothing but beef. BEEF. 2 pounds made around 1/2 gallon give or take. We need 20-30 pounds to make the requisite five gallons of chili. That’s a goodly chuck of a cow.

Just sayin’.

(Now, if someone shows up at the Chagrin Falls Chili Cook-off with the same recipe, well then you’re just itching for a fight. So don’t.)

One more plug to get you to come. Admission gets you ALL YOU CAN DRINK BEER.

Just sayin’.  ;-)

See ya there!