I had a blast cooking up this batch of chili for the Women's Bean Project Chili Cook Off.  I'm not one to really follow recipes.  I look at them.  I compare them to other recipes for the same dish.  I then close the book or turn off the computer and go to work making my own variation of the dish.

When it comes to chili I always think of Christmas Eve at my grandparent’s house.  Every Christmas Eve Grandma made a batch of chili and a pot of oyster soup.  For years I made my chili as close to Grandma's as I could as I didn't want to let that feeling of warmth and family go. (And I didn't want to insult Grandma by ever thinking I could make chili better than her!)

I rarely make chili or soups these days because my boys (husband and stepsons) aren't soup eaters. GASP! THE HORROR!  I love soup and chili but have settled for those being my special treats when going out to eat.  I know I could cook up batches for myself and freeze servings so nothing goes to waste, but my freezer is always filled with foods for the entire family. so I don't freeze soup just for myself.

When I was asked to participate in the chili cook off for this amazing organization that helps women to become self-sufficient, I decided to go out of my chili-comfort zone by making it up.  (Sorry Grandma)  I posted on Facebook that I was going to participate in the chili cook off.  A friend commented. "Looking forward to tasting your 'Montano Mojo' chili concoction at the DPC on Friday."  I immediately decided to name my yet-to-be-created chili Montano Mojo and use flavors that my boys love - chilies, sausage and corn - even though they don't like chili or soup.

Corn? Yes, corn.  I decided the sweetness of the corn would complement the heat of the chilies and spices.  I think it was a good choice.  One judge tasted my chili twice during his deliberations.  I didn't win but I was mentioned as a Reserve.  (I thought I had a win for sure just by having my secret weapong with me - Squeaks! I mean who could not vote for the mommy of such a precious baby girl?!?)

Montano Mojo Chili

2 lbs hot pork sausage
2 roasted jalapeno peppers, peeled, seeded, chopped
2 roasted banana peppers, peeled, seeded, chopped
2 roasted poblano peppers, peeled, seeded, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, diced
2 -15 ounce cans black beans, drained
1 bag frozen corn
2 - 30 ounce cans crushed tomatoes (I used tomatoes I've canned)
30 ounce can tomato pure
1 cup water
2 teaspoon ground oregano
4 tablespoons chile powder
2 tablespoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons hot chile sauce

*Brown sausage, drain
*Add chopped onions, all peppers, and garlic to sausage to cook until onions are
*Mix remaining ingredients in 4 - 6 quart crock pot (Recipe fills my 4qt pot to the brim!)
*Add meat mixture
*Slow cook a minimum of 2 hours

Makes 12 large servings.