Five recipes take top honors at annual Chili Fest

By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal

Thirty-four teams of cooks turned out last Friday at the Tupelo Downtown Main Street Association’s 13th Annual Fall Chili Fest to vie for five coveted titles: Make Ya Wanna Slap Your Mama Good! (1st Place); Better Luck Next Year (2nd Place); Everything But the Kitchen Sink (Most Original Recipe): Mystifying Oomph (Most Unique Taste); and Crowd Favorite (People’s Choice).
Here are the winning recipes from Friday’s contest.

’Bama’s Best Chili
(BancorpSouth: 1st Place)
2 pounds ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
2 bell peppers, chopped
3 cans Hunt’s special tomatoes with spices
2 cans Ro-tel tomatoes and chilies
2 cans diced tomatoes
2 cans chili beans
1 packet chili seasoning
1 jar sliced jalapeños (drain if you don’t want super hot chili)
2 cans tomato sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
Brown ground beef with onions and bell pepper. Drain excess grease. Then add remaining ingredients one at a time. Simmer over very low heat for 2 hours, then cool. Reheat on low for 2 hours. (This makes the spices blend with sauce.) Serves 8 to 10.
Recipe provided by Dani Maddox.

Cagle’s ‘Now’
Famous Chili
(Hospice Advantage: 2nd Place)
1 pound ground round
1 large white onion, chopped
1 (15-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
Beef broth
Chili powder
Onion powder
Garlic powder
Salt and pepper
Chipotle peppers
Canned pinto beans (optional)
Brown the ground round. Add onion and tomatoes and enough beef broth to make it as thin or thick as you like it. Add the remaining spices as you wish or as your stomach will allow. Add beans, if using.
Serves 4 to 5.
Recipe provided by Scott Cagle.

Salon West Chili
(Salon West: Most Original Recipe)
1 pound ground beef
1 white onion, chopped
1⁄2 green bell pepper, chopped
1⁄2 red bell pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 jalapeño peppers, chopped
1⁄2 pound pulled pork
1 can dark red kidney beans, undrained
1 can light red kidney beans, undrained
2 cans chili beans, undrained
4 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons chipotle chili powder
1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce
1⁄2 cup dark brown sugar
1 ounce semi-sweet dark chocolate
3 cans Ro-tel chili fixins
Salt and pepper to taste
Brown ground beef with onion, bell peppers, garlic and jalapeños. After meat is browned, add remaining ingredients. Let chili simmer at least 1 hour. When ready to serve, top with shredded cheese, sour cream and jalapeños.
Recipe provided by Christy Scott.

Chicken and
White Bean Chili
with Veggies
(The Farmhouse: Most Unique Taste)
3 pounds chicken thighs
Freshly ground black pepper
Grey salt
4 teaspoons fennel seeds
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 cup all-purpose flour
1⁄2 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
4 red onions, minced
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 green jalapeño peppers (with seeds), diced
2 red jalapeño peppers (with seeds), diced
1⁄4 cup tomato paste
6 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
2 cups white wine
4 cups chicken stock
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
4 cups cooked white beans
2 zucchini, cut into 3⁄4 -inch pieces
1 poblano pepper, diced
1 orange bell pepper, diced
1⁄2 cup torn basil leaves
Parmesan cheese, for garnish
Place chicken in a large bowl. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Toss with fennel seeds and smoked paprika. Sprinkle the flour over the chicken and toss to coat.
Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 1⁄4 cup olive oil; when it begins to smoke add chicken, leaving the excess flour in the bowl. Spread the chicken evenly in one layer. Cook chicken in batches, adding more oil if necessary. Deeply brown chicken on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. Remove chicken from pan, leaving juices in the pot.
Over medium heat add remaining 1⁄4 cup olive oil to pan along with the onions and garlic; cook until onions soften and caramelize, about 5 minutes. Add jalapeños and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Add tomato paste, chili powder and thyme and stir to combine. Add wine, bring to a simmer, then add the chicken stock, tomatoes and chicken. Stir to incorporate everything and adjust seasonings. Simmer until chicken is tender, about 45 minutes. Remove chicken from pot. Remove meat from bones and return the meat to the pot.
Add the white beans, zucchini, poblano and orange pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook until vegetables are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in basil. To serve, sprinkle with grated Parmesan and drizzle with olive oil.
Recipe provided by Rebecca Guess Lawrence.

Romie’s Taste Buds Chili
(Mitchell Distributing:
People’s Choice)
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.
Recipe provided by Rob Lesley.