RedPeg Chili Cook-Off Cookbook

by Sara Khalatbari, Head of Digital & Social Strategy

An annual tradition at RedPeg, we invite our in-house, self-proclaimed culinary masters to show the rest of us what they’re made of in our autumn chili cook-off.

After much deliberation, and judged by a top-notch panel of five with the most finely attuned taste buds in the agency (see Margaret Larkin’s credentials for example), our winners this year were Ali McEwen in first place with her Hearty Autumn Chili, Andrew “Fergie” Ferguson in second with his Sgt. Pepper’s Chili, and Kate Look in third with her Rootin’ Tootin’ Chili.

In a close fourth were the rest of our contestants: Kasia Langlois with Election Week Tryp(tophan) Spicy Turkey Chili, Matthew Mitchell with Farm Fresh Chili, Kathryn Caine with Basic White Chick(en) Chili, John Piester with Dragon’s Breath, Jenn Haskins with Netflix and Chili, and Jamel “Jay” Williams with BBW (Burns Both Ways).

Without further ado, here are some of the stellar recipes from this year’s Chili Cook-Off:

Hearty Autumn Chili

In one large pot, sauté:
1 Onion in 2-3 cloves of garlic and olive oil
Add 1 lb beef, 1 lb hot chicken sausage – stir until cooked through
Dice 1 red, orange, yellow pepper and sauté in garlic and olive oil in a separate pan
Add 3 – 4 teaspoons of Chili Powder in the beef, chicken and onion pot. Stir.
Add 1 can diced tomatoes (low sodium)
2 Cans kidney beans (drain and rinse before adding)
1 tsp of cinnamon
3/4 c (give or take 1/4c) of marinara sauce
When peppers are cooked, add to pot, stir.
Simmer for 1-2 hrs. Let sit overnight to let the cinnamon and chili powder marinate into the ingredients.
Serve hot with corn bread.

Sgt. Pepper’s Chili (8-10 servings)

1.5 lbs lean ground beef
24 oz. kidney beans
28 oz diced tomatos
12 oz tomato sauce
1 green / yellow / orange pepper
4 jalepeno peppers
2 tbsp Chilli powder
1 tbsp ground Cumin
1 tbsp ground Cayenne

Brown meat adding a dash of chili, cumin and cayenne pepper
Drain meat and set in crock pot
Strain diced tomatoes and add in crock pot
Rinse and strain kidney beans and add in crock pot
Add Chili powder, cumin and cayenne and stir.
Add tomato sauce and stir.
Set crock pot to warm
Chop peppers and stir in to crock pot.

Cook on low for 2 hours.

****Substitute 8oz tomato paste for tomato sauce to make thicker chili.

Rootin’ Tootin’ Chili

2 lbs hot sausage
1 ground beef
1 lb chili grind beef
1 onion
2 8-oz tomato sauce
2 Wick Fowler’s 2 alarm mix
1 1/2 beer
1 Can ranch style beans

Chop onion
Lightly brown sausage and about 1/2 the chopped onion add about 1T black pepper
Set aside
Lightly brown chili grind, ground beef and rest of onion another T or half T of pepper
Throw all in big pot
Add Wick Fowler, tomato sauce, beer, water, and beans
Simmer 20-60 minutes

Election Week Tryp(tophan) Spicy Turkey Chili

2 lbs ground turkey
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans (rinse & drain)
1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans (rinse & drain)
1 (15 ounce) can black beans (rinse & drain)
1 small chopped onion
1 small chopped green pepper (optional)
2 gloves of garlic – minced
1/4 cup red wine
2 tablespoons of chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp freshly chopped parsley
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 to 1 tsp of crushed red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf

Cook ground turkey in large pot (medium heat) until crumbly and no longer pink. Drain any excess water that’s accumulated in the pot from the turkey meat. Stir in all ingredients. Once bubbling, reduce to a simmer at medium low heat. Cook covered for about 1 hr 45 minutes stirring occasionally. Discard the bay leaf before serving.

Farm Fresh Chili

2 pounds ground chuck
4 diced tomatoes
12 oz marinara
2 gloves garlic finely chopped
2 tbls chili powder
1 tsp/garlic salt/onion powder/cayenne
Dash hot sauce
Salt and pepper
Top with Mike’s Hot Honey
Low for 8 hours

Basic White Chick(en) Chili

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 medium onion
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 (15 1/2 ounce) cans great northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I think I multiplied this by 3)
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 (4 ounce) cans diced green chilies

Saute chicken, onion, and garlic powder in oil until chicken isn’t pink anymore (in a large saucepan)
Add beans, chilies, seasonings, and chicken broth
Bring to a boil
Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 30 mins
Remove from heat, stir in sour cream and whipping cream

Dragon’s Breath

3 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 red bell peppers, diced
2 jalapenos chiles, minced
2 yellow onions, diced
1 head garlic, minced
1 pound boneless chuck, trimmed and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
2 pounds ground beef, coarse grind
1 pound bulk Italian sausage
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
2 teaspoons granulated onion
2 teaspoons hot paprika
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 cups tomato sauce
1 cup tomato paste
12 ounces lager beer
1 cup chicken stock
Two 15.5-ounce cans kidney beans, with juice
Two 15.5-ounce cans pinto beans, with juice

Add the bacon grease and butter to a large stockpot over high heat. Add the red bell peppers, jalapeno chiles and onions, and cook until caramelized, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute 1 minute longer. Add the chuck and brown, about 4 minutes. Add the ground beef and sausage and brown, stirring gently, trying not to break up the ground beef too much. Cook until the meat is nicely browned and cooked through, 7 to 10 minutes. Add the chili powder, cayenne, coriander, cumin, granulated garlic, granulated onion, paprika, salt and black pepper, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the tomato sauce and paste, and stir to caramelize, about 2 minutes. Stir in the beer and stock. Add the kidney and pinto beans; lower the heat and simmer, about 2 hours.