I love my neighborhood. One of the reasons I love my neighborhood is an event that I look forward to each year with great anticipation. That event is our annual neighborhood chili cook-off. The original idea for this wonderful annual event was Virgil and Jeannette Green’s.
Several years ago Jeannette told me, “The neighborhood had a nice group of people and that she and Virgil were enjoying it so much they wanted to keep the spirit of camaraderie alive”. Jeannette and Virgil hosted the very first cook-off in 2005 and as they hoped, no matter how busy everyone has become, this wonderful event continues to bring the neighborhood together. For the last nine years neighbors have gathered to share their latest chili concoctions hoping theirs will be the winning combination of meat, beans, vegetables or spices that will wow enough participants to win the coveted “Annual Torrey Pines Butt Kicking Chili Cook-off Champions” trophy.
During that time over 100 chili recipes have been entered into the cook-off including chicken chilis, vegetarian chilis, Texas chilis, ground-beef chilis, and some very hot chilis. While all of these chilis have been wonderful, there can only be one that stands out from the rest, and so, we gathered at the home of last year’s winners, Jack and Diana Partin to see which one that would be.
We started the evening enjoying a variety of delicious appetizers, cold beverages, and engaging in lively conversations, all while quietly wondering who would walk away the winners. Time came for everyone to take their bowls and spoons and begin tasting the great variety of chilis and make the hard choice of choosing the best of the best for 2013.
As everyone tasted each chili I heard a sentiment that seemed to be shared by everyone. “It is not going to be an easy choice. I think this is the best collection of chili that we have ever had since the cook-off started,” said Sandy Kessler.
Voting done, Diana disappeared into another room to count the ballots. Diana finally re-entered the room with the trophy in her hand and announced, “This year’s winners are Jeannette and Virgil!”
The announcement was met with a rousing chorus of congratulations and applause.
“How do you feel about winning this year,” I asked a very excited Jeannette.
“I am so excited. This is the third time I have had the trophy in my home. It is the first time I have won on my own merit,” said Jeannette.
“The first time was when we started the cook-off, the second time because the people who won moved away, and this time it is because I won it,” Jeannette said with a smile so wide it lit up the room.
I talked for a bit with Jeannette asking what it was about her chili that made it the winning chili.
“I used my usual old chili recipe with lots of onions and green peppers and after tasting it, I decided it needed some more chili powder so just dumped some more in,” said Jeannette.
I wanted to know what it was that made Jeannette’s chili a trophy winner. “I don’t know, it just tasted good,” Bill Krinsley said simply.
Crockpot Chili-Jeannette Green
½ lb. can of kidney beans-drained
2-28 oz. cans whole tomatoes
2 large green peppers
2 medium onions
2 cloves minced garlic
½ cup parsley – chopped
2 lb. hamburger
1 lb. ground pork
2-3 Tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon + pepper
1 teaspoon cumin –
- Brown hamburger and pork and drain.
- Cut peppers and onions in large pieces.
- Dump everything in crockpot and stir. Cook on low for 10 hours.
Jeannette says it makes a lot. “I use a 3 ½ quart crockpot and it barely fits in there”.
“I have no idea where I got this recipe, but it is THE BEST chili,” said Jeannette.
Portions of this post first appeared in my weekly column in The Daily Sun, The Villages, Florida. Next I will share the chili I made this year.