November 9, 2009
Shelf staple a secret ingredient in this chili contest winner

Ed Jasper used to feel guilty about using canned chili as the base for his chili, going so far as to call it "cheater chili."

Not anymore.

Jasper took home first place for his chili on Nov. 1 in the Elk Grove Elks Lodge's chili cook-off, a fundraiser for the lodge's "Purple Pig" project, which raises money for disabled children.

Jasper's bowl of red, now deemed "Ed's Comfort Chili," was the favorite among the 12 entries tasted by the judges - which included Sacramento County Supervisor Don Nottoli, Good Day Sacramento Anchor Nick Toma and myself - and also was picked by lodge members and guests as the best among the winning finalists.

The use of ground beef and chopped tri-tip provides a hearty texture and use of pasilla peppers and a chipotle chili lend a wonderful flavor and heat to the dish.

I can't speak for the other judges, but I couldn't detect a canned chili base when I was scarfing down my portion.

Follow the link below to get Jasper's chili recipe.

Ed's Comfort Chili

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: About 45 minutes

This recipe is courtesy Ed Jasper and the Elk Grove Elks Lodge #2577

Note: Cook time is for stove-top preparation

Two 40-ounce cans Dennison's chili with beans
Two 15-ounce cans Dennison's fat-free turkey chili with beans
1 pound tri-tip steak, coarsely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon zesty chili powder, divided
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 pounds lean ground beef
2 tablespoons garlic, crushed
1/2 large yellow onion, finely chopped
1/2 large red onion, finely chopped
2 bunches green onions, finely chopped
Two 7-ounce cans fire-roasted green chilies
1/2 canned chipotle chili, crushed with a fork and diced very fine
2 pasilla peppers

Pepper jack cheese and cheddar cheese, for garnish

In a large pot set over low heat, combine the canned chili. In another large pot set over low heat, brown the tri-tip, adding the salt and pepper to taste, onion and garlic powder and 1/8 teaspoon of the chili powder and 1 teaspoon ground cumin. Add the browned steak to the chili, making sure to keep the juices from the steak in the pot in which it was cooked.

Add the ground beef to the pot used to cook the steak and season with salt and pepper to taste and the crushed garlic. Cook over medium heat. Drain the fat and add the meat to the chili and steak.

Add the yellow, red and green onions, diced green chilies and remaining chili powder to the chili. Add the chipotle pepper.

Roast the pasilla pepper over the stove burner until charred. Cool them in ice water and scrape the skins off with a knife. Remove the seeds and finely dice the peppers. Add to the chili.

Simmer the chili on the stove or in a slow cooker until the onions are tender (Appetizers note: cook time for a slow cooker is about 3 to 4 hours on low setting).

To make the chili spicier, add the other half of the chipotle pepper.

Garnish with pepper jack and cheddar cheese and top with a sprinkle of green onions.

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