Once a year, the KBS training room fills with sound of bubbling pots and the smell of smoky spices. The KBS Chili Cook Off has become a favorite time-honored tradition among our staff. It’s how we kick off Super Bowl weekend on the Friday before the big game.
Each year, several employees cook up their favorite chili recipe in a crockpot. Together, we enjoy a potluck of competitive chili entries and delicious cornbread and desserts. Employees then vote for their favorite with the winner claiming rights to our chili trophy for the next 12 months!
Here are a few proven chili recipes from our past winners:
White Chicken Chili by Liz Blanks, Project Assistant, 2013 Winner
- 1/2 pound dried navy beans, picked over
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup chicken broth
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 1 teaspoon Tabasco, or to taste
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper, or to taste
- 4-ounce can whole mild green chilies, drained and chopped
- 5 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (about 2 pounds), cooked and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 1/2 cups grated Monterey Jack or Colby-Jack
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- In a large kettle soak beans in cold water to cover by 2 inches overnight. Drain beans in a colander and return to kettle with cold water to cover by 2 inches. Cook beans at a bare simmer until tender, about 1 hour, and drain in colander.
- In a skillet cook onion in 2 tablespoons butter over moderate heat until softened.
- In a 6-8-quart heavy kettle melt remaining 6 tablespoons butter over moderately low heat and whisk in flour. Cook roux, whisking constantly, 3 minutes. Stir in onion and gradually add broth and half-and-half, whisking constantly. Bring mixture to a boil and simmer, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes, or until thickened. Stir in Tabasco, chili powder, cumin, salt, and white pepper.
- Add beans, chilies, chicken, and Monterey Jack and cook mixture over moderately low heat, stirring, 20 minutes. Stir sour cream into chili.
Liz’s Tip: Use an Instant Pot to cook this. Without soaking, pour beans into the Instant Pot and add just enough chicken broth to cover the beans by two inches. Use the “chili/bean” setting and cook about 20 minutes on high pressure and then do a slow release. Add raw chicken in with the beans, cook using the “poultry” setting for about 10 minutes, again doing a slow release. Remove the chicken and chop it. Drain the beans. Then follow the rest of the recipe listed in Steps 2 and 3 The beans will be very tender and you don’t have to soak them overnight!
Easy Weeknight Chili by Megan Garland, Project Assistant, 2015 Winner
- 2 pounds of ground turkey (or ground beef)
- 2 cans of diced tomatoes
- 2 cans of Hunt’s tomato sauce for mild chili
- 2 tablespoons of chili seasoning
- 1 can of dark kidney beans.
- In a pot, cook ground turkey on medium heat until browned.
- Add remaining ingredients, reduce heat to low and simmer for at least 20 minutes.
Megan’s Tip: The “secret” is the Hunt’s chili tomato sauce.
Chili for a Crowd by McMahon Croft, Project Manager, 2018 and 2019 Winner
(Makes 18 gallons)
- 18 pounds ground chuck
- 10 pounds stew beef, diced
- 3 pounds red and green bell peppers, diced
- 5 pounds sweet onions, diced
- 3 gallons canned crushed tomatoes
- 4 gallons canned pinto beans
- 3 gallons canned red kidney bean
- 10 oz salt
- 1 oz cumin
- 1 oz cayenne pepper
- 1.5 oz red pepper flakes
- 1.5 oz ground black pepper
- 1 oz smoked paprika
- 1.5 oz liquid smoke
- 2 gallons beef broth
- 10 oz chili powder
- Start with a large frying pan and brown the ground chuck and diced beef.
- Add the spices and liquid smoke to the meat while you are browning it. (Hold back 1/3 of salt)
- In the same frying pan sauté the onions and peppers with seasoning.
- Add all the meat, peppers and onions to the large pot with the heat on medium.
- Add the tomatoes, beans and beef broth to the pot and make sure to keep stirring to prevent the bottom from burning. (Hold back 1/2 gallon of broth).
- At this time lower the heat and put the top on the pot. Making sure to stir the bottom every 10 minutes.
- Keep cooking and stirring until everything has melded together. Add more beef broth if the chili is too thick.
- Serve hot with cheese, sour cream and your favorite hot sauce.