It was the best of chili; it was the worst of chili.
Happily, mine was included among the best! Haha.
Yes, I did indeed win the 2009 Commonway Chili Cook-off in Memory of Chris Dennis (pictured far right) and to raise funds for ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease).
Chris, a member of our church, was in his early twenties when diagnosed with ALS. I met him when he helped me on the middle school ministry team. After a brave fight and with a heart ready to begin eternity with Jesus, Chris passed away last fall. He would have had another birthday about a week ago.
In his memory, Commonway held this event, and Chris's parents and brother, among others, judged the chili entries, of which there were about 17.
Several of you sent me chili recipes, which I appreciated SO MUCH, and I considered them all. I made five batches in the week preceding the event, and I finally settled on one that I believe is my own original concoction -er- recipe, although none of the ingredients is exactly unique to a dish like this (Mexican).
Oh, the excitement was thick Saturday night in the building as the organizers announced, "Judging will begin in two minutes; please step away from your chili NOW!"
It was just like Food Network!
In the pics, the guy who looks like a drunk Hawaiian Elvis is not really drunk; he's just a Hawaiian Elvis. Actually, he is a former high school classmate who gave his life to Jesus many years ago. He's an Ironman competitor and marathoner. He pushed Chris's wheelchair in the Indy Mini, and you will see this picture on Jim's monitor. And Jim, next time you enter a chili contest, don't talk smack, esp. if you're going to open a couple cans of HORMEL!
I want to tell you about my display because it's hard to read, and then you can see the pics and the recipe.
On the left panel, it says, "Oh the audacity of chili to be THIS good!" and the recipe is posted below that. In the middle, you will see my man Obama (NOT) and his famous "Yes We Can" quote, with the President apparently holding a white plastic spoon ready to dig into some chili. I added "Win this Chili Cook-off" under his "Yes we can!"
On the right, I have three tag lines: "Vote for Change [white chili vs. red chili]; "No pork in this recipe!" [as in economic stimulus package]; and "Natural Stimilus" [due to beans]. At the bottom is my pic and the caption, "I'm Linda Crow, and I approve of this shameless plea for votes." At the front of my table, I had small baggies full of peppermint Life Savers [for breath], Tums EX [for gas] and small bottles of water [to tame the tingle].
So that's it! Thanks so much. If you make this chili, please let me know if you like it. By the way, I think the fresh lime juice makes ALL the difference! PS: I have no clue why my bangs did the curtains-parting thing, unless it was somehow a lame attempt showcase the chili. But who has time for vanity when one's chili is about to win a contest? Was Aunt Bea vain? I should think not!
So I submitted the recipe to Taste of Home, as follows. (Check out how I've got the recipe lingo "down," like I do this all the time.)
Champion White Fajita Chili
In preparation for a chili cook-off, I created this original recipe which not only has beautiful color and just enough kick, but also distinct fajita and lime flavors. The experiments paid off, as this recipe took first place!
METHOD: Stove Top or Crock Pot
TIME: Prep: 15 min. Cook: 30 min.
- 2 16 oz. packages of frozen fajita chicken breast strips thawed and cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 cans Great Northern Beans
- 1 12-oz. package frozen Southwestern corn (corn chopped red and green peppers and onions)
- 2 10-oz cans diced tomatoes and green chilies
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 4-oz pasteurized processed cheese product cut into 1” cubes
- 1 c. chicken broth
- Juice of 1 or 2 limes
Directions:Simmer all in a stock pot for 30 mins., or put into a crock pot and let simmer on low until thoroughly heated, about two hours.
Yield: Serves 12