Isobar Chili Cook-Off

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Last month, Isobar’s finest chili connoisseur’s gathered in Chicago for the Inaugural Chili Cook-Off. Nine talented chefs lugged their crockpots into the office in search of fame and glory (and a hot sauce trophy!). Employees tasted each type of chili and voted for the Best Flavor and the Most Unique. Competition was fierce and the votes were close! Congratulations to all the participants! Winning recipes below.


Best Flavor
1st Place – Raf Winterpacht
2nd Place – Bill Bensman

‘Sin’ Beef Chili

1 ½ lbs ground beef, browned and drained
1 ½ lbs beef for stew, sliced into ¼ inch pieces, seasoned with salt and pepper. Meat should be seared over high heat, turned once, then removed from heat and drained.
2 celery sticks, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, de-seeded and chopped
3 cups V8
1 can (14.5oz) stewed tomatoes
1 package onion soup mix
2 pepperoncini’s, chopped
¼ cup of juice from pepperoncini’s
¼ cup white vinegar
1 clove minced garlic
1 bay leaf
½ of 2.4 oz size McCormick Mexican-style chili powder
1 tsp cumin powder
½ tsp oregano
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp paprika
1 tsp instant beef bouillon
1 tsp Ghost pepper rock salt (can find this in spice shops)
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons bbq sauce
¼ tsp cayenne
¼ tsp basil
¼ tsp thyme
¼ tsp black pepper
2 tablespoons tabasco or Frank’s red hot sauce
1 tsp habanero powder (can adjust this to your liking for heat. Also found in spice shops)

Combine all ingredients, heat to boil.

Turn down heat to simmer about an hour, then transfer to slow cooker and cook on low for 2 hours.



Most Unique
1st Place – Heidi Ruppel
2nd Place – Andrew Demey

Pumpkin Chili

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup pumpkin puree (from the can or homemade)
1 cup canned tomatoes
1 cup vegetable stock or water
1 can black beans (15 oz, 425 g)
1/2 can garbanzo beans (7.5 oz, 212 g) or white beans
1 tablespoon cumin powder (start with half the amount, and add more, to taste)
2 tablespoons chili powder (start with 1 tablespoon, reduce or add more, depending on your tastes and also on how spicy your chili powder is)
salt and pepper

1) In a large pot or skillet, cook chopped onion and minced garlic in olive oil for about 5 minutes on medium heat until soft.

2) Add pumpkin, canned tomatoes (chop them up into smaller chunks), vegetable stock (or water), black beans and garbanzo beans. Add half the cumin and half the chili powder, stir everything well, and season with salt and pepper. Taste your chili, season some more with salt and pepper if needed. Add the remaining cumin (or more) and remaining chili powder (or more), if desired. Bring to boil, make sure to stir all ingredients well together to combine flavors and spices. Reduce to simmer and cook for 20 minutes on simmer.

3) Serve in soup bowls, garnished with chopped green onion.