Our Award-Winning Chili

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Award Winning Chili and Creamy Cornbread Muffins, a wonderful dinner combination for these sub-zero Midwestern temperatures.

Several years ago, (2005 to be exact) our small town’s Chamber of Commerce hosted a chili cook-off. It was held in a lovely park located in the town square on a crisp fall day. On the west side of the park, the usual hustle and bustle of the Saturday morning farmer’s market was in full swing. Tables and chairs were set up around the beautiful gazebo located in the center of the park. And all of the chili cook-off competitors situated their booths around the gazebo.
I had read about the cook-off in the local paper and thought that entering the competition would be a great way to spend a beautiful fall day with the family and to see how my chili would fare against the others. I had been serving this recipe for years and friends and family seemed to love it.
The morning of the cook-off, we got up early, packed up the car with chili fixings and decorations for our booth. I was intent on winning the trophy for the best chili and the sportsmanship award, given to the most neighborly participant that had gone the extra yard to create a festive looking booth. I have an embroidery machine so I had embroidered custom attire for the day. I had purchased a few yards of cotton fabric to make chef hats and simple pants for the kids. We all wore matching embroidered sweatshirts to show off our family name. The kids were young and eager to help. They were excited about the festivities for the day.
I have fond memories of this day as we did indeed win top prize in both categories. From then on, this has been the recipe that I turn to when making a big pot of chili during the fall and winter months. It’s actually a very simple recipe full of flavor and warmth.
I must say, the weather these past several weeks has been brutal. I have been scouring my recipes to provide hearty meals for the family. It seems we are constantly out shoveling snow, heading off to work or school and returning home only to find that the snow needs to be tended to again. This chili recipe really hits the spot during the cold winter months in the Midwest.

Our Award-Winning Chili

5 slices of bacon
2 onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground chuck
3/4 pound beef sirloin, cubed
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle beer
1 cup brewed coffee
2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
1 (14 ounce) can beef broth
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
3 (15 ounce) cans kidney beans

In a large pot over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp. Remove to paper towels. Cook onions, garlic, ground chuck and sirloin cubes in bacon drippings until brown; drain. Crumble cooled bacon and return to pot.
Mix in the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.

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22 thoughts on “Our Award-Winning Chili

  1. quilt32 says:

    You have the spices that are usually found in our Cincinnati chili, but the addition of bacon, ground chuck and sirloin (plus beer) certainly take it over the top. Sounds wonderful.
    Lillian

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  2. This is a recipe that I play with a lot depending on what I have on hand. I have substituted red wine for beer and I have substituted sausage for ground chuck too. Stay warm, Lillian… I’m sure you are experiencing the bitter cold temperatures as well!

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  3. It’s so funny you posted this. My husband has been talking about chili all week – he probably associates it with SuperBowl Sunday! Your recipe is fabulous, especially with the cocoa, beer, coffee, sirloin and myriad spices. I will try it tonight, but with black beans (I made a huge pot of them last night!). Thanks for sharing! Shanna

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    • Linda says:

      What a coincidence, Shanna… We must all have football on the mind. I guess I was just trying to rustle up something warm and comforting for my gang this week. It’s been mighty cold in these parts! Substitute all you like with this one… I usually taste it after the first 30 minutes while simmering and adjust things as I see fit. Enjoy the warmth of the south! You are quite lucky!

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      • Hi, Linda…. The chili was delicious. I did not use any pork but otherwise followed the recipe (of course, I had to add a few veggies… I cannot restrain myself). I did let it simmer for a very long time and adjusted seasonings at the end! Delicious! 🙂 You know, I lived in Cleveland when Greg was a med student and became “tough” – I even went running in blizzards. Now I am such a wimp and complain when the temperature drops below 40. You have given me a reality check! Have a lovely night, and enjoy your hot meals. – Shanna

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    • Gosh, chocolate in anything is awesome in my book! When I was entering the recipe for the cook-off, I knew I needed to be creative and kick things up a bit! Thanks for your comment!😊

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  4. All of your recipes look award-winning to me, Linda. You are very versatile and talented! No wonder you love chili, living with such harsh weather this winter! At least all the shovelling is good exercise?!?! Hopefully Spring will come early for you this year – in the meantime keep warm – oh! and enjoy the Super Bowl! xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox

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    • Well, I can’t take credit…this recipe is a compilation of many recipes that I have seen over the years. For this cook-off, I just thought I wanted to hit it out of the park, recipe-wise. I wanted it to taste good and I wanted the recipe to look interesting…I guess it worked out in my favor. Thanks so much for your valued comment. Hope you are able to try the recipe in the future!

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