Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Top Three Chilis from Chili Cook-Off 2007

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First Place Winner


... Ah, Katie. What can you say about Katie that will do her justice? She's funny, she's down to earth, she's very sweet and thoughtful and positive and always has a smile on her face, a big, happy, contagious smile, she's a WILDLY ENTHUSIASTIC Bears fan, she's a school teacher (she's one of those teachers who is still a teacher even though right now she's a SAHM. She just IS a teacher. It's in her blood.) Katie's husband Adem is one of my favorite guys on the planet. He LOVES FOOD and makes no bones about eating being one of his very favorite things to do. I remember one of the first two or three times I met Adem, he voluntarily bragged about his wife's culinary skills with an enormous amount of pride and passion. I was so impressed by that. And he's right, she's a fantastic cook. And they are both fantastic people - truly the salt of the earth. They have two adorable kids - Emma, who's 4, and BabyKevin (as he's known around the 'hood, because he's the youngest of all of "our" kids) who is quickly approaching 18 mos. Shew, where does the time go?

Katie loathes beans. With great enthusiasm. Her chili is beanless. Go Katie!

Katie’s Championship Chili

What you need:

2 small sirloin steaks (cut into cubes) or cut up steak that is prepackaged
1 lb. of lean ground pork
2 lb. of ground beef (You can use ground turkey meat as well.)
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions (Vidalia onions are yummy too!)
4 cloves of garlic
2 small green peppers
3 small jalapeno peppers
3 small red peppers (The hot ones, I'm not sure of their exact title.)
1 (28 ounce) can of petite diced tomatoes
1-2 cans of tomato sauce
2 cans of tomato paste
1 can of beef broth
1-2 Tbsp of beef bouillon (I used the Better than Bouillon brand.)
3-5 Tbsp of chili powder
1 tsp of oregano
1 tsp of basil
2-4 Tbsp of ground cumin (I added based on taste.)
1-2 Tbsp of Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp of soy sauce
2 Tbsp of brown sugar
1 can of beer
If you like your chili spicy, I am sure you could add a Tbsp of jalapeno juice or cayenne pepper.

How to make it:

Heat olive oil in large pot. Add the chopped up onions, peppers, and garlic (I just pressed the garlic into the pot.) Let the onions and peppers cook until they have softened.
Add the lean pork and cubed pieces of steak to the onion and pepper mixture. In another pan brown the 2 lbs. of ground beef and then drain off the excess fat. Add that to the onion, pepper and meat mixture in the large chili pot.
Add the spices to the large pot gradually. Then pour in the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. Stir well and bring to a boil. Then add the tomato paste and reduce the heat to medium low. Add in the brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce. Stir well. At this point the flavors will not be completely strong, but taste the chili and see if it might need more spices or sauces.
Slowly add the can of beer. I would add half at first and then taste to see if you need more. This is a very large batch of chili and it may need a little more for excellent flavor.
If the chili seems too soupy just add a little more tomato paste. It should be perfect! I like to let my crockpot do all the work, so I transfer the large pot to a large crock pot and turn it on high for a few hours. Then I taste it to make sure that the meat is getting nice and tender and that the flavor is full. At this point you may add anything you think might be missing! Make sure to stir the chili a couple times an hour.
After a few hours on high you can lower the heat to low and let it simmer for at least another 3-4 hours. The longer it simmers the better it tastes. I actually made it the night before the competition and then let it heat up all day. ENJOY!!

Second Place Winner

Me! (Woohoo!)

My family's been cooking and eating this chili and only this chili for many many years. If you ever make it, you'll taste why.

Nevada Annie's Champion Chili (1978)


3 medium onions
2 medium green peppers
2 large stalks celery
2 small cloves garlic
½ (or more) small fresh Jalapeño pepper, diced
8 pounds lean chuck, coarsely ground
1 7 oz can diced green chilies
2 14½-oz cans Hunts stewed tomatoes
1 15-oz can Hunts tomato sauce
1 6-oz can Hunts tomato paste
2 3-oz bottles Gebhardt chili powder (I used Penzey's Medium Hot)
2 tablespoons cumin
Tabasco sauce to taste
1 12-oz can Budweiser beer, divided into two portions
1 12-oz bottle mineral water
2 or 3 bay leaves
garlic salt to taste
salt and pepper to taste


Dice and sauté the first five ingredients. Add the meat and brown it. Add the remaining ingredients, including ½ can beer (drink the remainder, says Annie). Add water just to cover the top of the mixture. Cook about three hours on low heat, stirring often. Serves 24+.

Modification to Laverne Harris's original recipe: I stir in one can of refried beans about 2 hours into the cooking process, to give the chili a bit more richness and texture.

Third Place Winner


Paula and her husband John own their own business in The City and are the most, you know, urbanish, cool, jet-setty of all our neighbors. Paula is a no-nonsense, matter-of-fact lady with a wickedly dry sense of humor and a knack for just rolling her eyes and waving her hand in dismissal when anything or anyone gets too serious. Our little group of women is always kicking around emails organizing events, sharing jokes, newsy updates, and the occasional neighborhood warning, and I always await Paula's simple, sharp, funny responses because I know I'll get a laugh. Paula and John have two handsome, busy, active boys, Johnny and Mitchell.

I totally love that you can actually see the Paula-ness of Paula shine through in her recipe:

Paula's Chili

Hey there - Here is my recipe. By the way, I don't measure anything.

2 lbs. Ground beef Browned with 1 large white onion. Drain
Add 2 - 3 cans Brooks Chili Hot Beans (sorry Katie)
2-3 cans Brooks Chili Tomatoes
2 - Pkgs. Chili Seasoning
Here's where the measuring gets creative.
Pace picante Sauce
Crushed Garlic & Garlic powder
Chili Powder
Dijon Mustard
Red Hot
When i make it really hot:
Crushed red pepper

Sour Cream on top is usually a must to tame down the heat. Enjoy! Paula


  1. Thanks for posting these. Its really interesting to see what everyone else puts in their chili.

  2. I LOVE to see how everyone makes chili! So different but all so yum, yum, yummy.

    I got a recipe for chili last week with potatoes in it that I can't wait to try!

  3. Ooh, I bet the judging was difficult. Thanks for posting the recipes for all of us!

  4. I love chili - as a matter of fact that's what we are having for supper tonight. All 3 versions look so good - I'll have to have my own chili cook off!

  5. I love chili and I'm so jealous of your friendships with your neighbors. I don't have that :( Looks like only blondes live there!!

  6. You go girls! This is a great time of year for all that chili!

  7. I noticed that all 3 recipes have beer in them. Could that possibly be the secret? They were all truly delicious!