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The Second Occasional LoneStarCon Science Fiction Convention and Chili Cook-off, Variously known as the 55th World Science Fiction Convention and LoneStarCon 2, To be held from August 28th through September 1st, in the year 1997, in San Antonio, Texas.

Progress Report #1--Casey's Chili [Chili Resources]
by Casey Hamilton

This is the first in a series of chili recipes. It will make enough chili for one gallon-sized crock pot-plenty for taster cups at a medium-sized regional convention. Very large conventions, like Worldcons, will require multiple batches.

[*] 5 lbs. ground beef
[*] Full handfuls of dried chopped onion (about 1/4 cup each)
[*] Small handfuls of garlic powder (about 1 Tb. ea.)
[*] 2-3 8 oz. cans of tomato sauce
[*] 4-5 8 oz. cans Rotel (diced tomatoes and chili peppers)
[*] 2-3 Tbs. honey [secret ingredient #1]
[*] 1-3 Tbs. masa (corn flour for thickening)
[*] Largish handfuls of chili powder
[*] Largish handfuls of cumin
[*] Dashes of allspice [secret ingredient #2]
[*] Dashes of cayenne pepper (remember, this is really hot stuff; don't get any up your nose)
[*] Multiple shakes of Worcestershire sauce [secret ingredient #3]

Put the ground beef into a large, dutch oven or pot. Season the meat with a handful of the dried onion, small handful of garlic powder, large handfuls each of chili powder and cumin, several dashes each of allspice and cayenne, and several large shakes of Worcestershire sauce.
Brown the meat thoroughly (spatulas don't really work for turning and moving the meat around. Wooden spoons do much better); remove from heat and drain off fat (usually about 4-6 8 oz. cans worth of grease-the empty Rotel and tomato sauce cans work well).
Once the grease is drained, add the tomato sauce, Rotel and basically the same seasonings as at the beginning of the process, along with the honey. The honey adds just a hint of sweetness, and basically serves to smooth together all the flavors. Stir together, then cover and simmer over low heat for an hour to an hour and a half. Stir periodically while simmering.
After an hour to an hour and a half, add the masa if you like thick, rich chili. If you don't, leave it out. In either case, check to see how the chili's doing either by tasting it or testing the aroma (I always use the aroma method, letting my native Texan husband do the tasting when he gets home from work). Add more of whatever spices seem to be called for in this particular batch, stir, and simmer covered for another half hour or so, stirring occasionally. It shouldn't need another adjustment after the second simmer period, but it has been known to happen.
Let the chili cool off for at least an hour or two before trying to pour the chili into a gallon-sized freezer bag. If you're eating it right away, the cool-off period isn't necessary, but chili that's aged in a freezer generally tastes better than chili fresh from the pot.
Depending on how much of whatever got into individual batches over the past several years, my husband's responses to this recipe generally ranged from "pretty good" to "can't I please have some more?" It also seemed to go over pretty well at our bid parties.

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