Believe it! American finally wins Slope chili cookoff

Believe it! American finally wins Slope chili cookoff
Photo by Tom Callan

Finally, an American has won Park Slope’s most competitive chili cookoff.

After two consecutive victories by Australian wine executive James “Cool Hand” Gosper, perennial runner up Andrew Hughes took home the Blue Ribbon at last Saturday’s PS 107 fall festival, a highlight on the social and chili calendars in Park Slope.

“It feels all the more sweeter because of how long a road it was,” Hughes said. “But I did it for the kids.”

Hughes also did it with a little razzle-dazzle, crafting a complex chili that he tops with shaved chocolate, giving it the pro wrestling-styled name, “Chocolate Thunder.”

For his part, Gosper was happy to bow to Hughes — though his concession speech was anything but gracious.

“I’ve achieved my goal of improving the general quality of chili in Park Slope,” the two-time champ gloated. “Finally, PS 107 parents are saying, ‘I’m not going to let an Aussie beat me at chili for a third-straight year!’ They rose to the occasion, so I am pleased to have played my part in saving a great American tradition.”

Andrew Hughes’s “Chocolate Thunder”

(serves “a lot”)

2 ears sweet corn

3 cans red kidney beans (rinse only 1)

2 cans chickpeas, rinsed

2 cans black beans, rinsed

1 large sweet onion

1 red onion

2 shallots

1 bulb garlic

2 pounds ground sirlion

1-1/2 pounds ground turkey or pork

1 cup beef stock

3 tbls. chili powder

2 tbls. garlic powder

2 tbls. onion powder

1 tbls. ground red pepper

1 cup shaved dark chocolate

1 large can peeled tomatoes

1 large can crushed tomatoes

1 small can diced tomatoes

2 tbls. sugar

1 tsp. sweet basil

1 tbls. oregano

1 bay leaf

2 tsp. thyme

1 tbls. ground cumin

2 tsp. Kosher salt

1. Cut corn off ears and placing kernels in a pan to be roasted or fried. Add salt and red pepper to taste. (Note: It is OK if the taste is stronger than you would normally like because it will settle when combined with the other ingredients.) When corn is cooked and a bit blackened, set aside.

2. Finely chop all onions, shallots and half of the garlic bulb, combine and set aside.

3. In large frying pan, combine all meats and start browning over a low flame. Begin to add seasoning, but use only half of your measured amounts until the meat is fully browned. Continue to add spices until you get to you desired spicy flavor. Refer to above note. Begin to add the chopped onions, garlic, shallot mixture, use three quarters of the mixture. Cook the combination over a low flame for 30 minutes while adding a half a cup of beef stock. Taste and add seasoning. Once the desired spiciness is achieved, then add two tablespoons of chocolate and stir for another 10 minutes. A lot of the liquid should be reduced by this time. Keep warm over low flame.

4. Pour all cans of tomatoes into a food processor and add sugar, basil, oregano, thyme, salt, the remaining onion, garlic, shallot mixture and pulse until tomatoes make a chunky sauce. Then place in a large slow cooker or pot. Add bay leaf, three whole pieces of garlic and cumin.

5. Over a low flame, place the tomato mixture and begin to add the corn, then the beans, then the meat mixture and stir. This mixture can cook for 30 minutes to 4hours with no problem.

6. And final step, this is what helps to make this chocolate thunder chili and is the family secret, add a spoon full of shaved chocolate on top to mix. The family secret is that the chef and one other member of the house hold are allergic to chocolate.