Chili-Fest: Good Eats

By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Thirty-two teams competed for the bragging rights of best chili and more Thursday night at downtown’s 11th annual Chili Fest. Winners included:
- Crowd Favorite (People’s Choice): Bel-Air Golf Course
- Make Ya Wanna Slap Your Mama Good! (1st Place): Tupelo Park and Rec
- Better Luck Next Year (2nd Place): Budweiser/Romie’s Grocery
- Everything but the Kitchen Sink (Most Original Recipe): Tupelo Unitarian Universalist Congregation
- Mystifying Oomph (Most Unique Taste): Nautical Whimsey
Here are four of the five winning recipes. The chili cook for Tupelo Unitarian Universalist Congregation refused to divulge his secret recipe.

Backwoods Chili
(People’s Choice: Bel-Air Golf Course)
1 pound barbecue pulled pork
14 pound Velveeta, cubed
2 onions, chopped
1 large can whole tomatoes
2 cans chili beans
1 tablespoon oregano
1
12 tablespoons cumin
1
12 tablespoons crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon paprika

Combine all ingredients in a large pot. Cook until hot.

Texan Chili
(First Place: Tupelo Park and Rec)
2 pounds ground chuck
12 pound ground mild pork sausage
4 onions, chopped
12 cup sweet banana peppers, chopped
14 cup jalapeño peppers, chopped
12 cup bell peppers, chopped
2 tablespoons ground black pepper
2 tablespoons salt
1 package mild chili starter
2 (16-ounce) cans of petite diced tomatoes
2 (6-ounce) cans tomato paste
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce

In a cast iron skillet brown ground chuck and sausage with a cup of chopped onions, 2 tablespoons peppers (banana, jalapeño, and bell). When mixture is browned and peppers and onions softened add to a large pot and combine all other ingredients. Bring to a good boil then reduce and simmer 1 hour until color has become a deeper red and chili has thickened.
Makes 1 gallon.
Note: This chili has no beans.
Taste Buds Chili
(Second Place: Budweiser/Romie’s Grocery)
10 pounds ground chuck
4 onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
12 ounces chili powder, or to taste
6 ounces cumin, or to taste
1 (102-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (102-ounce) can tomato sauce
2 cans Ro-Tel tomatoes
3 small cans diced fire-roasted chilies
1 small can diced jalapeños
2 packages dry ranch dressing mix
2 cans pinto beans, drained
1 can dark kidney beans, drained
1 can light kidney beans, drained
1 can black beans, drained
1 can great Northern beans, drained
1 can red beans, drained
1 can navy beans, drained
1 can Budweiser beer

Cook meat, onions and garlic and season with salt and pepper and some of the chili powder and cumin. Drain the grease off. Add remaining chili powder and cumin, tomatoes, tomato sauce, Ro-Tel tomatoes, chilies, jalapeños and ranch dressing. Simmer for 1 hour. Add all the beans and cook another 30 minutes. Add water to thin if needed.
Serves 40 or more.

Italian Chili
(Most Unique Taste: Nautical Whimsy Italian Bistro)
1 pound ground beef
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup Nautical Whimsey Marinara
with Chardonnay*
1 cup water
12 cup chopped celery
14 cup Progresso Beef Broth
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
12 teaspoon salt
1 (16-ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup sliced fresh eggplant
1 cup diced zucchini
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
Shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (optional)

In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a 3-quart slow cooker, combine the tomatoes, tomato sauce, onion, marinara, water, celery, broth, chili powder, Italian seasoning, sugar, garlic and salt. Add drained beef to slow cooker, cover and cook on low for 6 hours or until vegetables are tender.
Add the beans, eggplant, zucchini and parsley. Cover and cook on high for 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Sprinkle with cheese if desired.
Makes 6 servings.
* Note: This marinara sauce is available at the Nautical Whimsey Italian Bistro & Wine Bar, which will have its grand opening in the old Bistro on Main Street on Oct. 27.