I spent hours making it precisely to spec.

I really made the Chief’s chili, and it made me actual unhappy

It was a peaceable morning till Ash Parrish dropped the tweet into Slack — it was from Steve Downes, the voice actor for Halo’s Master Chief, and he was sharing a recipe which he calls “Master Chief Chili.” Instantly, my chef senses perked up. An opportunity to prepare dinner a meal probably loved by some of the iconic online game characters of all time? And to weblog about it? It appeared too good to be true.

Yet, as I learn the recipe, I felt my coronary heart sinking, the enjoyment slipping away. I used to be left with one quick query: not “where’s the beef” a lot as “where’s the spice??”

Co-workers conversant in Deep Halo Lore knowledgeable me that there may very well be an in-universe purpose for why a battle-hardened Spartan would favor this “chili.” According to the books, the SPARTAN-II program did horrible issues to the youngsters subjected to it, and their sense of style believably may’ve been affected by it, getting turned as much as 11 sooner or later within the course of.

But the vast majority of my co-workers will not be conversant in this lore and noticed solely meals crimes. Chaim echoed my issues in regards to the appalling dearth of spices, whereas Alex Cranz requested us to deliver her the fainting chair. Adi Robertson was confused about why you’d grate an onion however ultimately started pondering the character of beef farming within the far-future world of Halo.

Executive editor TC Sottek noticed solely content material. A stupendous weblog (maybe with a quote from world-renowned — and positively not busy in any respect — chef Gordon Ramsay), which might solely require the sacrifice of my intestinal tract, and that will be match to grace the hallowed pages of web sites like RecipEZ4U and that cooking weblog that wrote 2,000 phrases on the way to make a cheese quesadilla.

I made a decision that I might deliver my utmost literary abilities to bear upon the Halo chili — maybe Microsoft would even attain out to me with a guide deal for the subsequent Halo novel…

(Note: I tweeted the recipe at Gordon Ramsay asking for his ideas however didn’t get a response. I did find this (quite NSFW) video of him making chili, and he does add fairly just a few spices to his.)

Downes’ tweet obtained quite a lot of consideration on Twitter, but it surely’s really not the primary time he’s shared his chili recipe — there’s a documentary about him the place he’s cooking it and says that it’s “the best chili you will ever have in your freaking life.”

Who higher to place that to the take a look at than a 25-year-old who’s by no means been south of Texas however is fairly positive they’ve had first rate chili earlier than? We didn’t suppose Downes declare would maintain up however needed to know for positive.

So I went procuring.

Walking into the shop, I instantly realized I had an issue — the checklist of components is annoyingly obscure. “Potato?” “Onion?” Both of these are available in a number of varieties, and which sort I selected may make a major distinction. How are these tomatoes alleged to be processed? Should they be complete peeled, crushed, diced? Even “ground beef” isn’t particular sufficient for me. Would Master Chief go for 90 p.c lean to remain in preventing kind, or does he choose the added richness of a 15 p.c fats mix?

Lacking a sentient AI like Cortana to assist me make these selections, I guessed. I went with a russet potato as a result of they appear hearty sufficient to exist in house (I wasn’t in a position to pin down precisely what sort of potatoes Matt Damon grew in The Martian). I additionally went with a candy onion out of some obscure hope that the sweetness would make the grating course of much less of a tear-fest. As for beef, the Good Stuff was on sale, so I went with that hoping it might deliver at the very least some taste.

Image showing two jars of tomato sauce, a can of whole tomatoes, dark red kidney beans, salt, pepper, an onion, a potato, and two packs of “gourmet hamburger.”
All the components I obtained on the retailer. The Jaritos isn’t a part of the recipe. It’s simply the carrot-colored soda that I’m utilizing as motivation to endure the stick of this 4 hour-long chili-making course of.

When I obtained house, I grated the onion — the sweetness didn’t assist. As I fought again tears, my spouse yelled that she may scent onions from upstairs. After re-reading Downes’ directions to “combine ground beef and grated onion, brown in pot,” I used to be doubtful about not placing oil into the pot earlier than including components, however the recipe didn’t name for it — so I gritted my enamel, ignored my instincts, and adopted the recipe as written.

The onion and beef appeared to brown effective.

After including the tomatoes, I bumped into one other irritating limitation of the notes app screenshot recipe. “Simmer 2 hours” is the one instruction, with no point out of how typically you need to stir or whether or not you need to cowl the pot. I set a timer and determined I’d go for a half-cover and stir the pot each time I completed a spherical of Halo: Infinite.

I can’t say the chili smelled nice because it was cooking. The shade coordination I had occurring between the tomatoes, pot, and controller was on-point although.

After two hours of professional gaming (alright, I’ll be trustworthy; an hour of professional gaming and an hour of cleansing the kitchen and extra prep), I added the beans and diced potatoes and crushed up the tomatoes a bit.

And, okay, it’s in all probability time to deal with the M313 Elephant within the room. This chili recipe has potatoes. No, I don’t suppose I’ve ever seen it earlier than. Yes, these potatoes held their shade and form even after cooking.

Time to settle in for one more two hour simmer sesh. The knife is only a prop by the way in which — I really diced the potatoes with a Type-1 Energy sword for optimum accuracy.

By the time it was achieved, cooled, and prepared for the fridge, it was virtually 2AM — this isn’t a fast weeknight meal. Not having undergone in depth organic augmentation like Master Chief, I wasn’t robust sufficient to strive the chili as breakfast. That meant I needed to wait practically 12 hours to pattern the product of my labor.

I ready my favourite East Fork bowl; gently skimmed the grease that had congealed upon the floor as directed by the final instruction within the recipe; fought off my cat, who was desperately attempting to lick the chili bowl, in all probability out of jealousy; and glopped the chilly chili (which had the consistency of moist cat meals) into the bowl.

As my microwave sang its tune to let me understand it was achieved heating up the Chief’s chili, I may virtually hear the monastic chants of Halo’s theme song in my head. I raised the spoon to my lips — smelling solely the faintest of beefy odors.

And people… it was not good. I imply, it wasn’t horrible; I used to be in a position to end a bowl of it. I simply wouldn’t name the expertise “enjoyable.” I additionally don’t need to eat any extra of it, which is a disgrace provided that I’ve obtained like 4 quarts of these things.

The most hanging factor is that there’s virtually no taste — I do know that sounds apparent, given the dearth of spices, but it surely actually doesn’t style strongly of something. It’s primarily beef and tomatoes, so my spouse predicted it’d find yourself tasting like spaghetti sauce. But it doesn’t! There’s virtually no tomato taste or acidity in any respect.

The complete factor tastes vaguely beefy and salty, type of such as you combined beef tallow with pasta water. Despite the ample quantity of salt I added, it simply wasn’t sufficient to make up for the dearth of different flavorful components. Credit the place credit score’s due, although — it does completely resemble the descriptions of navy meals that I’ve heard from some relations who spent a lifetime within the service.

Oh, and the potatoes had been, in truth, a little bit of a reduction — the bottom beef obtained actual mushy after 4 hours of simmering, however the potatoes are nonetheless fairly agency. Would I relatively they be chunks of bell pepper? Yes, however at this level, it’s any port in a storm or any sense of texture in a single’s salty beef soup slop.

Those brilliant orange blobs? That’s grease. And it may’ve been averted.

I don’t need to say that this can be a definitively unhealthy recipe and that you just shouldn’t strive it — if it seems like precisely your kind of factor, go for it! Food could be very subjective, and I’m not right here to guage anybody’s tastes, 1,500-word weblog put up withstanding.

Clearly, Downes and Master Chief have a distinct sense of taste than I do. Which is why, within the grand custom of Binging with Babish, I figured I’d provide some concepts on the way to enhance the subsequent batch and possibly rank Onyx within the subsequent cookoff:

  • Add taste.
  • Cook the meat first and simply drain the grease. Maybe go away slightly bit to brown the onions with. When one is scooping chili into one’s gob, one shouldn’t should be dodging tiny blobs of beef fats.
  • Get fancy — my co-workers advisable cocoa powder and a great darkish beer to reinforce the beefiness and play off the spice you’ll presumably add.
  • Alternatively, add raisins. You’ve already dedicated to creating these items, so give your self some further textural surprises.

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