In researching Chili Cook-off in a Box, I’ve been struck by how chili’s appeal transcends politics. Republican golfers love it and anarchist vegans do, too. Here is a game-based chili recipe that United Bank employees cooked up to win the Chamber of Commerce of the Mid-Ohio Valley‘s Great Bowls of Fire Chili Cook-off in Parkersburg, West Virginia. Commercial loan officer Lindsey Anderson kindly gave me the scoop.
Gina: Who were the members of the team and what are their jobs at the bank?
Lindsey: [Me, plus] Rita Dotson (loan document specialist), Chad Mildren (regional president), Stewart Powderly (commercial credit analyst), and Bonnie Rice (external accountant).
Gina: How did the team go about deciding on the recipe?
Lindsey: The recipe was Rita Dotson’s with a little twist.
Gina: I understand that someone at the bank hunted for some of the ingredients. Please tell me that story.
Lindsey: Chad Mildren took the deer last October with his bow on his farm in Ohio. It was an 8-point that field dressed at 190 pounds. He took the front roast to the butcher who mixed in some cow and pork fat into it as he ran it thru the grinder. [The deer] had soybeans, clover, turnips, acorns, and browse for his main diet. Chad always hangs his deer at 36 degree temperature for 7 to 10 days in a cooler before cutting up. This makes the meat tender and takes the game taste out of it.
Gina: How many chili cook-offs have your team members entered and won?
Lindsey: This was our first cook-off.
Gina: Do you have any tips for chili cook-off competitors?
Lindsey: If you operating in a team, choose your strongest chef, and stick to one recipe. However, do not be afraid to make some small adjustments to the recipe.
Gina: What do you think makes the difference between a good chili and a great one?
Lindsey: When the heat from spices doesn’t overwhelm the flavor and let it set overnight so the ingredients will blend. If someone wants it so hot it will bring tears, then have a side bowl of jalapenos, habaneros, and a bottle hot sauce or red pepper flakes.
Gina: Lastly, can you say why you love chili?
Lindsey: It warms you up and is a GREAT comfort food served with oyster crackers and sides of peanut butter or grilled cheese sandwiches.
United Bank Team’s Wild and Wonderful Chili
By Rita Dotson
7 pounds elk and deer blend with 1 pound pork
5 pounds ground chuck
3 very large onions (chopped)
4 large green peppers (chopped)
5 tablespoons Tone’s Chili Powder
5 tablespoons Kroger Dark Chili Powder
1 package Mesquite chili seasoning
1 tablespoon pepper
1/4 cup sugar
3 6-pound cans tomato sauce
4 28-ounce cans petite diced tomatoes
5 – 10-ounce cans RO-TEL Original
4 – 52-ounce cans light red kidney beans
This recipe makes approximately 7 to 8 gallons. Use two (2) roasters. Put half of everything in each roaster.
Fry meat until almost done, then add onions and green peppers. Onions will become translucent, at this point add seasonings.
Salt to taste after all ingredients are added and has simmered for a short time. If you want more spices, add more to your taste. Some people like mushrooms added.
Lindsey says, “This is a recipe you can ‘have it your way,’ but this way is a WINNER.”