It’s no secret that firefighters love their chili… especially on Halloween. It has become a well known tradition for fire departments around the country to partake in a chili feast or chili cook off during the Halloween holiday. “It’s the right meal for how we work and a firehouse tradition. We can leave it warm on the stove while we respond to a call. We can quickly reheat it for dinner. It feeds a crowd and is cheap to make,” said Phoenix firefighter Robert Kemp.
Keep an eye out and your stomachs hungry for your local fire department’s chili cook off, so you can indulge in some savorous supper too!
The Phoenix Fire Department has offered some tips on how to make the the perfect firefighter chili this Halloween:
- Rushed chili is bad chili. Dried beans cooked halfway are crunchy; undercooked meat is chewy. To avoid, allow chili to simmer until it’s done. For best flavor, make a day in advance. Chili tastes best on Day 2.
- Use dried spices and chile powders. Fresh spices and chiles vary in flavor and potency, making it riskier to achieve the right balance of flavor and spice.
- Make sure the dried spices are still full of robust flavors. Spices without their punch can ruin a pot of chili. Test for freshness before using. Rule of thumb is to keep spices no longer than one year.
- If using fresh chiles, roast before adding to chili.
- Aim for the right balance by using a range of spicy, smoky and sweet chiles.
- Like most one-pot meals, chili is highly forgiving. Want more spice? Add more chile powder or cumin. Too hot? Add lime juice. Swap kidney for black beans.
- Canned beans work in a pinch, but beans are best and cheapest when prepared from scratch. One cup of dried beans equals 3 cups of cooked beans.
- Whether ground beef, chuck, pork, chicken or turkey, use quality meat. Brown ground meats before adding any liquids. Brown chunks of meat or poultry on the outside before assembling your chili. Cooking meat in advance locks in the flavor of the meat.
- Finely mince all vegetables.
- Serve chili with condiments, such as diced radishes, grated Cheddar cheese, crackers or crushed tortilla chips, sour cream and fresh, diced herbs.