Two-Alarm Super Bowl Chili

My friends know my penchant for things hot. I love hot peppers. And I’ve always had the philosophy, simply stated, the hotter the better.

And when it comes to chili, I always include at least a half-dozen kinds of peppers, most of them rating quite high on the Scoville scale. The number of Scoville heat units indicates the amount of capsaicin present. Capsaicin is a chemical compound that stimulates chemoreceptor nerve endings in the skin, especially the mucous membranes.

I call my hottest chili 10-alarm. It has at least 10 kinds of peppers, along with chili powder and Tabasco sauce. I used to make the chili  to take on ice fishing trips because it could warm up a person even when the temperatures fell well below zero.

Since I’ve been married to Therese, though, that recipe has gone on the back burner. She doesn’t share my preference for things that hot. That’s OK, since as I’ve gotten older, my stomach sometimes can’t take the spiciness of the 10-alarm chili, so a milder version is just fine.

I just finished making some chili to eat while watching Sunday’s Super Bowl game between Green Bay and Pittsburgh. If I were to rate the chili, it probably would be two-alarm. It does have some heat, but I don’t think it’s too much. The only hot peppers I used were some canned chipotles in adobo sauce.

Here’s the recipe, which I just threw together without consulting a recipe. If you’re in the chili mood and like a milder version, this might be just for you.

Two-Alarm Chili
1½ pounds ground meat (beef, buffalo, elk or venison)
1 14 ½-ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 14 ½-ounce cans tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 4-ounce can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped
2 stalks celery, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
½ pound shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon paprika
2 tablespoons salt
1tablespoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons white sugar
Brown meat and drain liquid. Add the rest of ingredients and bring mixture to a boil. Simmer for 2 to 3 hours.
Note: Chili will be better the second day after flavors have a chance to meld.

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