Tom Papoutsis is a “Firehouse Chef” that currently holds the rank of Lieutenant with the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department. Tom’s experience in the Fire Service spans over 30 years, 20 of which have been with Fairfax County. The bulk of his firehouse culinary expertise has been practiced during his tenure there. He was a national finalist in the 2004 Tabasco Cook & Ladder Competition finishing in the top 10 of the nations Firehouse Chef’s, and traveled to New York City to compete in a cook off with his peers. He has also been placed on the “charity” auction block several times to prepare meals for the highest bidder.
Tom likes to specialize in Italian and Greek cuisine being of the same heritage, but also enjoys preparing Asian and of course “Good Ole American” foods as well. He concentrates on entrées but also has a few hors d’oeuvres and dessert specialties as well, such as his versions of Bruschetta and Amaretto Cheesecake. For the past year he has been studying the practice of making homemade Italian deli meats and sausages. Tom’s motto: “It’s just cooking, not rocket science, take a chance…you might like it!”Residing in Chambersburg, PA with his wife JoAnn, twins Jonathan & Katie and “Buddy” their Golden Retriever. Tom enjoys cycling, hunting, fishing, woodworking, raising his children and helping form today’s youth while volunteering with son Jonathan’s Cub Scout pack.
Dicing Garlic for Chili
Firehouse chef Tom Papoutsis demonstrates how to chop garlic for the chili.
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Dicing Garlic for Chili
Ingredients9 pounds of ground beef
3 large sweet onions
3 large green bell peppers
3-4 pounds of diced tomatoes
4 pounds of kidney beans
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 6 ounce cans of tomato paste
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
Jalapenos for 1 or 2 alarm Chili
3-4 tablespoons dark chili powder
3-4 tablepsoons paprika
2 tabelspoons cumin
3 1/2 ounce bar of dark chocolate
5-6 cloves of garlic
1 cherry pepper
1 habanero for 3 or 4 alarm Chili
3 tablespoons Tabasco sauce
2 cans of Guinness draught
1. Prepare the vegetables. Cut and dice the tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, garlic and chili peppers. Prepare the jalapeno peppers, cherry peppers and habanero pepper.
2. Saute the vegetables on high heat with olive oil and garlic. Add salt and pepper.
3. Start cooking the meat in a separate pan with oilve oil on high heat. Turn the burner down to medium heat.
4. Cook the ground beef until it is browned. Take the green peppers, onions and garlic and put them into the chili pot with the beef. Mix it all together on medium-high.
5. Add the chili powder, paprika and cumin to the chili. Turn up the heat a little and add the tomatoes.
6. Put the peppers in the chili. To make three-alarm use jalapenos and habaneros. Put some Tabasco sauce in. Add the tomato paste and Guinness Draught. Add the dark chocolate and beans and let the flavors meld together.
7. Let the chili simmer on low to medium heat for a couple of hours. Plate and serve.
Lieutenant Tom Papoutsis: Garlic, we are going to need about probably six-eight cloves of garlic, but what I am going to do, I am going to take my garlic, I do a couple cloves here for you, and what I do is I basically take, strip that down. There are two ways you can do this, you can hit it, you can take this thing; you just smack it like that, and this peel, you can see how the garlic, if its good garlic it just falls apart, the peel comes right off.
If you dont want to do that, you want to take the time to peel it. You can take the time to peel it. In the firehouse, we have to do things quickly. So guess what? Give it a whack that skin will come right off of there, just like that, there we go, and the other thing its going to do, its going to get you ready, here we go. Now, we chop this, just cut it up. Whether its big chunks, little chunks, its all going to get sauted, its going to get saut and all these ingredients are going to basically break down, because we are going to cook this chili for a while here today.
Theres our garlic, we are good to go.