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As I was doing my usual news read this morning I came across an article that said Newark Mayor Cory Booker saved a woman from a fire (1). This is almost as good as when Ryan Gosling saved a woman from walking out into traffic (2).  It’s so rare to hear ANY good news about a politician, or a politician doing a good deed that doesn’t pander to any sort of reelection platform. When’s the last time you can remember hearing news like this? Anyway, if I were a Newark citizen, I would probably vote for Mayor Booker’s reelection just based on this news.

Also ladies take note Cory Booker is single, and he’s also got a sense of humor if you can remember his faux feud with Conan O’Brien a couple years ago.  In addition, He’s an effective politician, he’s reduced crime and upped affordable housing in Newark since his election in 2006. This guy is definitely a rising political star, and his act of heroism is just the icing on top.

So, now that I’m done gushing over a real-life hero/politician, I’m dedicating my firehouse chili recipe to Mayor Booker, and maybe a little bit to Ryan Gosling.

  • 6 dried ancho chiles (if you can’t find ancho chiles, california or negro chiles will work)
  • 2 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1/2 lb thick-cut smoked bacon, cut in 1/2 inch pieces
  • 3 large Vidalia or sweet onions, chopped
  • 2 green peppers, chopped
  • 2 serrano peppers, finely chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1.5 cup of beef stock or broth
  • 1 Tbsp. lime juice or cider vinegar
  • Optional: shredded cheddar cheese,  green onions, avocado slices, sour cream

In large skillet over medium heat, cook ancho chiles 3 to 4 minutes, turning occasionally, until toasted. Cool; remove stems and seeds. Transfer to bowl; pour boiling water over them Let stand 20 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/3 cup soaking liquid. In a small food processor (or blender if you don’t have one), puree chiles and liquid and set to the side.

In a heavy bottomed pot over medium-high heat cook beef until the beef begins to brown. Drain fat; transfer beef out of the pot to the side.

In same pan cook bacon until brown, not until it’s crispy. Stir in onions, green and serrano peppers, and garlic. Cook 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add pureed chiles; cook and stir 3 minutes. Add chili powder and cumin; cook and stir for about a 1 minute. Add reserved beef, the whole can of tomatoes including liquid and 1-1.5 cups beef stock or broth. Bring to boil; reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, covered for 30 minutes.

Remove from heat; stir in lime juice and a little salt to taste. Top with your favorite chili toppings, some of my favorites are listed above under optional.

What’s your favorite chili recipe? do you include beans in your chili? My mother usually throws in a bottle of beer for flavor, what’s your favorite spice?