Firehouse Chili Gumbo
This recipe is adapted from the one that a Louisiana firefighter named Jeremy Chauvin entered into a national cook-off run by Hormel Foods in 2017, and that took home the prize for America’s Best Firehouse Chili. It is not really a chili in the Texas sense of the word. There is a roux at its base — it’s more like a chili gumbo, a bayou take on the original red. Serve with grated cheese and corn chips. Chauvin told me he was moved to enter the chili contest as a way to honor his brother Spencer, also a firefighter, who was killed in the line of duty in 2016. “I just want people to remember his sacrifice,” he said.
- Serves: 8 persons
- 2tablespoons neutral oil, like canola or grapeseed
- 3pounds ground beef, ideally coarse-ground
- 1tablespoon kosher salt
- 1teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, or to taste
- 2tablespoons chile powder
- 1teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1teaspoon dried oregano
- 1teaspoon ground cumin
- 3tablespoons steak sauce
- 2tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 16 ½-ounce cans diced tomatoes
- 2tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1tablespoon olive oil
- 2tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1large yellow onion, peeled and diced
- 2medium shallots, peeled and diced
- 1green bell pepper, diced
- 1yellow bell pepper, diced
- 3ribs celery, trimmed and diced
- 3cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 8-ounce cans tomato paste
- 10-ounce cans tomato sauce
- 1to 2 cups tomato juice
- 1cup ketchup
- 1tablespoon apple-cider vinegar, or to taste
- 2tablespoons hot sauce, or to taste
Step 1Make the chili. Heat the oil in a large skillet or heavy-bottomed pot set over medium-high heat. Working in batches, cook the beef, stirring often, until it has begun to brown at the edges. Using a slotted spoon, transfer browned meat to a bowl.
Step 2Pour off excess fat, turn heat down to medium and return the browned beef to the skillet or pot. Add salt, peppers, chile powder, turmeric, oregano and cumin, and stir to combine. Add steak sauce, Worcestershire sauce and diced tomatoes, and stir again. Cover the skillet or pot, and cook, stirring a few times, for 15 minutes or so.
Step 3Make the gumbo. Place a large pot with a heavy bottom over medium heat, and put the butter and oil into it. When the butter is melted and foaming, sprinkle the flour into the pan, and whisk to combine. Continue whisking until the mixture is golden brown, approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Add the onion, shallots, bell peppers, celery and garlic, and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables have started to soften, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.
Step 4Make the chili gumbo. Add the beef mixture to the pot with the vegetables along with the tomato paste, tomato sauce, tomato juice and ketchup, and stir to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 to 45 minutes, then add apple-cider vinegar and hot sauce to taste. Take the pot off the heat, and serve, or allow to cool and refrigerate overnight to allow the flavors to cure. Heat before serving.