Our 2018 #VGMeatsChiliBowl Champion Shares Her Winning Recipe!


February 8, 2018

The first annual VG Meats Chili Bowl was a success, with some amazing entries and one truly outstanding winner, Mary Pat Elliott (‘Chili B’ from the competition, if you’re keeping track). Thanks again to all who entered, taste-tested and voted for their favourite – it was a great day! We are so pleased to share this winning recipe with all of our customers. Thanks again, Mary Pat!

A note from our winner

“In the past couple of years, I have become fascinated by the depth of flavour and warmth that the “curry cooking technique” of Indian cuisine. For example, some spices and herbs are added to be stewed or simmered for long periods of time, some are introduced at the end. This the basic inspiration for the technique in this chili.

As far as other inspiration goes, well, that would be a six or seven-year-old girl helping her Mom out in the kitchen as she and my late Dad raised four kids under the age of five in a small bungalow around the corner from VG Meats. The incredible smell of sauteing ground beef and onions will always bring me back to those days where I first learned to love cooking for others. Along with Dad’s Pancakes, Mom’s Chili Con Carne was the first dish I ever learned how to make.” – Mary Pat Elliott

The Recipe – MP’s V. Good Colorado Chili

First, prepare the black beans.

½ package of dried black turtle beans
1 tablespoon of salt
Enough water to cover by 2 inches

Bring to boil and simmer for one hour. Some beans may be soft, others not ready yet. You may have to add 15 minutes to simmer time. Don’t worry, the underdone ones will continue to cook in the chili. (Alternate: use 3-4 cans black turtle beans, rinsed and drained.)

In wide frying pan, brown in about 1 lb batches (try to get a brown crust), draining and reserving excess grease, brown 6 lbs VG Meats regular Ground Beef. Set aside browned beef, leaving brown bits in pan. When complete, add a fair amount of grease back to pan and saute, seasoned lightly with salt, 6 large cooking onions.

In blender, soften 2 Beef Stock Cubes with 3 cups of boiling water and add:
8-10 California dried chilis, de-stemmed and de-seeded
4-6 Ancho dried chilis, de-stemmed and de-seeded
6 large cloves garlic
Two inch stems of fresh coriander (about ¼ cup)

Let this mixture sit for 20-30 minutes and then blend together. Meanwhile, just as onions are beginning to brown, add homemade chili powder (ingredients below):

4 T. ground cumin
2 T. commercial chili powder
2 T. dried oregano (i use flakes, not ground)
1 T. garlic powder
1 T. onion powder
2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Black pepper
1 tsp. Cinnamon (or add a large cinnamon stick when simmering)
Cayenne (optional)

Toast mixture for 4-7 minutes, stirring often adjust heat so it doesn’t burn. Meanwhile, blend the chili mixture in blender and add to onion mixture along with:

2 jars tomato puree or “Passata”
1 tin diced tomatoes

Bring to medium boil and reduce and simmer for about 15 minutes uncovered. Be sure to use your wooden spoon or spatula to scrape up all the brown bits at the bottom of the pan. Add reserved beef and black beans to the mixture and keep at a simmer for at least 1 ½ -2 hours.

Towards end of simmering, taste and adjust for seasoning. Add:

1-2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo, mashed (or more if you like it really spicy)
12 pickled sliced jalapeno peppers, diced finely and mashed (more, to taste)
2-3 tablespoons of jalapeno pickling liquid
1 tablespoon cocoa powder or 3 oz. dark chocolate

Cool well before packing up for fridge overnight. Before heating for service, add 1 cup of chopped cilantro leaves. Enjoy!

Cook’s Notes:

Black beans do not require soaking overnight and require less cooking time than other beans because of their thin skins. Simmer them uncovered for best texture and taste, topping up water every now and then salting along the way is always the best policy, but I don’t salt the meat.

Dried peppers should be pliable, not dry and crumbly. They won’t have flavour if they are brittle!

If you find when browning the beef that the brown bits on the bottom of the pan are getting too dark and risk burning, drain fat and deglaze with some beer mixed with water (or just water). Reserve this flavourful liquid for the chili!

Fat will act as flavour and quite a bit of it will be reabsorbed by the meat as it simmers. I prefer to err on the side of more fat that i can skim later rather than draining too much, too early.

Soak and rinse cilantro (coriander) a few times, otherwise you will add grit to your chili!