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Hi! I’m Lieutenant Tom Papoutsis, Fairfax County Farm Rescue Department. Welcome to the fire station. We’re here today in Mclean, Virginia at fire station 1 in Fairfax County and we’re going to be making a Three Alarm Firehouse Chili. So, come on let’s go inside and let’s start cooking.
Today we’re going to make chili for about 12 to 14 hungry firefighters. Firefighters have quite a voracious appetite. So, typically when I figure out how much I’m going to use, the main ingredient which today is going to be the meat, we typically figure about half a pound per person. That’s uncooked meat. So, today we’ll be making a little bit extra. The guys will have a big pot and they will be able to use it a couple of days from now. They’ll be still eating the chili.
Our ground beef, we’re using about nine pounds of ground beef. We’re going to be using three large sweet onions and we also have three large green bell peppers. As far as the tomato is concerned I use a combination typically but we’re going to use probably three to four pounds of diced tomatoes and we have two large cans, basically, two pound cans, so about four pounds of our kidney beans. Also, we’re going to use a little bit of tomato paste, this will add a little bit extra tomato flavor to the tomatoes that we’re already going to use.
Now, let’s talk a little bit about our spices. Spices are what make our chili. We’re going to use typical salt and pepper, a good table grinded pepper and you’re probably saying, “Why are we using black pepper, whenever we’re going to use jalape?os or whatever hot pepper we’re going to use?” The black pepper actually gives a different flavor, a different type of heat to it. We’re also going to be using dark chili powder and some paprika. These are what actually give the chili the flavor and the color of the chili, the red color.
One of the key components is cumin. Ground cumin is one of the most key components to our chili because when you taste chili and it doesn’t have cumin in it, you’ll k now it. But if you smell this, which we could actually open it and have you smell it because you would look at it and smell it and say, “This is it. This is the smell of chili.”
One of the other things is dark chocolate. Dark chocolate adds a very nice flavor to it as well. We have our garlic and hot peppers. I have a cherry pepper. This is a Habanero which is very hot and these are jalape?os. Depending on how much heat you want is dependent on which pepper you want to use. I also like to use a hot sauce so we add a couple of different flavors of hot. And you can use the hot sauce of your choice. Today we’re going to be using a regular Tabasco sauce.
An alternate ingredients that you can put in your chili is number one, you can use pepperoni. Some people use pepperoni, some people like to use some sausages. Today, we’re probably going to be using some Guinness draught. Guinness draught actually adds a great flavor, as well as sometimes you may want to think about maybe putting a little bit of bourbon or maybe your favorite sherry or wine or something into it, but personalize your chili. Make it your chili, and in the end you are going to like it.