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Cast, in order of appearance:
Soak beans - overnight in cold water or one hour in boiled water.
(Dice and marinate steak, if desired.)
Chop and brown garlic, if using fresh.
Note: if you like a crunchy, fresh onion and/or pepper aspect to your chili, add them very late in the simmering process.
Chop onions and add to 16 quart stockpot with garlic, saute in oil or butter until translucent.
Chop peppers and add to pot, lower heat to a high simmer.
Add tomato to pot, as cans, as fresh and chopped, whatever works for you.
Slice and dice steak to 1/2" cubes, brown in manageable batches with cumin and add to pot.
By now the beans are ready, so drain and rinse them and add to the pot. Mix thoroughly.
Use the tomato paste to thicken as desired.
Simmer and stir occasionally, adding salt to taste.
The chili should be ready to eat in about an hour. I like to simmer it overnight and then portion it for the freezer.
Serve with shredded cheese, saltines, corn chips, fresh chopped onions, corn bread, or in taco shells, as desired.
Makes roughly four 72 ounce teenage servings to eighteen one pound adult servings.
Note: To increase alarm level (heat), substitute more jalapeno peppers for some of the red pepper, and/or make sure to use habanero (or other very hot) peppers. For "zero alarm," use no hot peppers. For "one alarm," use six to eight jalapenos. For "two alarm," double the jalapenos or add one (just one!) habanero. "Three alarm" uses more habaneros. I'm not sure habaneros are truly hot enough for "four alarm" chili. I think, actually, "four alarm" chili is sort of like absolute zero - you can only get close. As close as you can get, theoretically you can always go further. At some point you won't really have made food, it will be something more like paint stripper.
Here are some photographs I took during one "chili-a-thon".
January 29, 2012:
Yield: 2 veggie and 15 meat servings
January 6, 2017:
Yield: 18 roughly 18 oz servings