Winning Chili & Cornbread Recipes

Max takes the lid off the winning chili recipe.

Max takes the lid off the winning chili recipe.

Chili Cook-Off Winners!

Over the weekend we had our inaugural Piedmont Grocery Chili Cook-Off. Wow, what fun! I had a blast, and the general consensus is the we should do it again next summer. I think we shall.

My life revolves around food. It is my passion as well as my hobby. It’s also what I do for a living which means I talk about food a lot. Talking about food or favorite recipes is a common enough experience in any work environment but it is even more so here at PG. It makes sense–people who work with and around food all day would have a pretty good idea of what ingredient would taste good with what other ingredient and what would be the best preparation for any ingredient. We also have our resident “experts”. These are the individuals who are known for (and sometimes share 🙂 ) their particular specialty, be it crab cakes (Josh) or to die for German Chocolate Cupcakes (Sarah) and, of course, we have a secret weapon in the deli (Phil).

Needless to say, all six of our Chili Cook-Off entries were made by people who knew what they were doing, and it showed. The best part, and what made it interesting, was that each chili was totally different than the others. We had spicy chili. We had chunky chili. We even had duck chili (with duck cracklin’ on top! Are you kidding me? So Good.)

The customers who came by to taste were awesome, and so culinary-aware, and so educated. It was really cool to stand there and talk to them about ingredients while using phrases like “nuance” and “depth of flavor”. Yes, I realize we were talking about chili but it felt like we were discussing the recipes of Thomas Keller.

All of the chili recipes were tasty, but since it was a chili cook-off there has to be a winner. So, without further ado, the winning chili as voted by our fabulous customers is…

Chili #5 by Max & Sarah
Anyone who has been through our checkout stands or had their groceries placed gently in their bag, has probably met one or both of our winning chefs. Their collaboration produced the most classic chili of the bunch, and tasted like what one would want on a cool fall day…preferably during a football game. Well, it’s what I would want in fall after or during a football game…or just about anytime, really. And don’t get me started on the corn bread!  

Max’s Chili
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 small jalepenos, seeded and diced
1 medium red bell pepper, diced
1 medium yellow bell pepper, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 pound ground chili beef
8 ounces fresh hot Italian sausage, casing removed
1 ancho chili pepper
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon brown sugar
One 4-ounce can tomato paste
One 12-ounce bottle wheat beer
One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
One 14-ounce can tomato sauce
One 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
One 15-ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
One 15-ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
Shredded Cheddar, for garnish
Sour cream, for garnish
Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

Add the olive oil to a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the onions and peppers and sauté until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until just fragrant. Stir in the beef and sausage, breaking it up with the back of a wooden spoon, and cook until browned. Drain the beef mixture through a colander placed over a large bowl. Add the meat back to the Dutch oven and stir in the ancho chili, chili powder, cumin and oregano. Cook for about 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste into the beef. Add the brown sugar and beer and stir up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Bring to a simmer, and then add the diced tomatoes and beans. Simmer on medium-low for 2 hours, stirring on occasion to keep the bottom from sticking.
Top with shredded cheese, sour cream and chopped cilantro before serving.

Sarah’s Sweet Cornbread Cake
Serves 4-6

1/4 C cornmeal
3/4 C all purpose flour
1/3 C sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon melted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
1 egg, beaten
1/2 C plus 2 tablespoons whole milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8×8 baking dish.
Combine dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the liquids. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry and mix just until incorporated. The mixture should be slightly lumpy.
Pour the batter into the greased baking dish and bake for about 25-30 minutes.

Comments are closed.