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Let's Eat

Boston firefighter’s winning chili

(Essdras M Suarez/Globe Staff)
February 23, 2011

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Serves 12

A hint of cumin and a snap of heat won firefighter Dennis Carr (pictured) of Dorchester’s Grove Hall Fire Station a trophy for the best chili at the recent Boston Firehouse Chili Cook-Off. The event, to benefit the Greater Boston Food Bank, drew in 12 other firehouses. He uses grilled ground beef in his mixture, which also makes the taste distinctive. The 38-year-old Carr, a Dorchester resident, is the self-appointed cook at the firehouse where he’s worked for 10 years. “He’s the best cook in the Fire Department, hands down,’’ says fellow firefighter Tom Quinn, who helped Carr dish out five gallons of chili at the competition. The pressure is on for next year. “I have to defend my title,’’ says the winner.

4 pounds ground beef
3 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
3 large onions, coarsely chopped
1 carrot, grated
2 green bell peppers, cored, seeded, and chopped
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and finely chopped
4 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons cumin
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar
Salt and black pepper, to taste
4 cans (28 ounces each) crushed tomatoes
1 can each (15 ounces) kidney beans, black beans, and chick peas

1. Shape the ground beef into large, flat patties. Heat a grill until medium hot. Grill the patties for 5 minutes on a side or until the center is medium rare. Set aside.

2. In a large stock pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions, carrot, bell peppers, jalapeño, chili powder, cayenne, cumin, cinnamon, sugar, salt, and black pepper. Cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes or until vegetables soften.

3. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, kidney beans, black beans, and chick peas. Add the grilled patties, using a large metal spoon to break them up.

4. Simmer uncovered, stirring often, for 1 hour. Add water during cooking if the mixture seems too thick.

5. Taste for seasoning and add more salt or black pepper, if you like. For the best taste, refrigerate overnight and reheat the next day.

Ann Trieger.

Adapted from Dennis Carr