Tonganoxie soup enthusiasts bring out the chili for annual cook-off
PEOPLE'S CHOICE CHILI
SAUTE, DRAIN GREASE:
3 lb lean hamburger
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
4-8 fresh jalapenos, diced small (add as many as you like for heat, but add at least 4 for mild for children. I usually add all 8 for hotter!)
1 large onion, diced large
salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste (start with about a tsp. each salt and garlic powder and a 1/2 tsp. pepper. you'll be adding more later.)
DUMP INTO CROCK POT OR LARGE STOCK POT AND ADD:
1/3 cup good chili powder, (not generic)
1 3/4 c Heinz ketchup
3 Tbsp lemon juice concentrate
1/3 c dark brown sugar (can sub light but I just don't even buy that kind anymore because it always turns into a brick)
1 Tbsp Lea and Perrins worcestershire sauce
2 tsp regular white vinegar
1 1/2 tsp French's yellow table mustard
1 1/2 Tbsp cumin
3 c spicy hot v8 juice
1 (16 oz.) can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained first in a colander til no longer foamy/bubbly
2 (8 oz.) pkgs. fresh sliced mushrooms chopped
2 (14 1/2 oz.) cans del monte original stewed tomatoes, with the juice. crush tomatoes with hands as you add.
1 c beef bouillon, i use superior touch better than bouillon beef base
*more salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste
Samantha O’Hare didn’t get flashy with her chili.
“Simple and classic,” she said about the red chili she entered in Friday’s Tonganoxie Nursing and Rehabilitation Center’s chili cook-off.
O’Hare, director of nursing at the center, said she went with a solid favorite for this year’s cook-off, which marked the seventh year of the event.
Judges named her chili the best in the traditional category. That chili, appropriately named Simply the Best, also won at a previous cook-off.
“I went off the grid last year and made white chili,” she said.
This actually was the first year there were various categories: people’s choice, alternative, traditional and spicy.
Nursing and rehabilitation center employees, as well as any of their health care partners, were eligible to enter the cook-off.
Judges for the event were nursing center resident Bill Commings, Mike Graveman with Magnatech, John Callaghan and Curtis Newman with the Tonganoxie City Fire Department, Ashley Hardin with Leavenworth County Development Corporation, Doug Meyer with harden Hospice of Kansas and Shawn Linenberger with The Mirror newspaper.
Judges visited the row of chili pots to get soup samples for each category. If they couldn’t decide on a winner for a certain category, they of course had to go back for a second sample to better decide the tiebreakers.
There were 10 entries total, as a white chicken chili that Mandy Haibig entered was named top alternative chili.
The winning spicy chili, which Sheryl Dubin entered, seemed to garner the most comments.
“It was hot with a lot of good flavor,” Callaghan said.
The chili was Meyer’s overall favorite.
“No. 7 — hands down,” Meyer said of the winning spicy chili, which was the seventh pot of chili in the row of entries. “But I’m a spicy guy.”
Commings preferred a sweet chili that included mushrooms, lemon juice and brown sugar — and was the people’s choice winner. Lynn Stoner entered that winning chili.
“That is something I would eat regularly,” Commings said. “I’m kind of addicted to chili.”