The Winning Recipe from the 2013 Chili Cook-Off: Mike’s Chili

Congrats to Mike Linzbach, the runaway winner in the popular vote for best chili at the 2013 LCC Chili Cook-Off! Mike took home a great bundle of prizes from local businesses, including Frattalone’s Ace HardwarePeace Coffee, Riverview Theater, Riverstone Salon, East Lake LiquorThe Hub, and Mother Earth Gardens. Mike’s winning recipe was developed by himself and inspired by three other chili recipes. Its great flavor and moderate “heat” had wide appeal. The recipe is available below so you can try it out yourself!

Other winning recipes included Alex Tsatsoulis and Katie Tharp whose Black Bean Sweet Potato Chili won “Best Vegetarian Chili,” Richard Parnell whose bike-themed art won “Best Presentation,” Ken Koense for “Best Spicy Chili,” and Tor for “Best Medium Chili.”  Thanks to everyone who participated, to the great local businesses that donated prizes, and to Council Member Gary Schiff for emceeing the event!

LCC Staff Joanna and Council Member Gary Schiff with Chili Cook-Off Winner Mike Linzbach

Mike Linzbach’s Chili:

Kosher salt
1-1/2 cup dried pinto beans (12 ounces)
3 dried ancho chiles
3 cascabel chiles
4 dried árbol chiles
3 tablespoons cornmeal
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon whole cumin
2 teaspoons cocoa powder
2-1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 medium onions
3 jalapeño chiles
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 medium garlic cloves
14.5-oz can diced tomatoes
2 teaspoons light molasses
3 1/2 pounds steak (blade steak or stew meat)
1 (12-ounce) bottle Grain Belt
1 chipotle pepper canned in adobo sauce, chopped
1 tablespoon adobo sauce (from the chipotle peppers in adobo)

1.    Rinse pinto beans and pick out and discard any that are sub-par. Place a Dutch oven with 4 quarts of water over high burner. Add 3 tablespoons salt and beans. Bring up to boil, then remove from burner, cover the pot, and allow to soften for 1 hour. Drain in a strainer and rinse well to remove any surface salt.

2.    Remove the stems and seeds from your dried chiles, and rip into 1/2″ pieces. Place a 12″ skillet on a medium-high burner and toast dried chiles and whole cumin, stirring often, for about 5 minutes until they become fragrant. You may need to adjust the heat, especially if they begin to smoke. Allow the chilies and cumin to cool in the skillet. When done, add to the bowl of your food processor.

3.    While chiles are toasting, dice the onions into large 3/4″ pieces. Discard the stem, ribs and seeds from your jalapenos, and dice into 1/2″ pieces. Peel garlic cloves so that they are ready to press directly into Dutch oven.

4.    Add corn meal, oregano, cumin, cocoa powder and 1 teaspoon of salt to the bowl of your food processor along with the toasted chilies and whole cumin. Process for 2 minutes until it becomes finely ground. Slowly add 1/2 cup of chicken broth to food processor while running. Continue processing for 20 to 30 seconds until forms a paste. It may be necessary to scrape down the sides of the food processor. Empty into a small bowl and set aside.

5.    Add onion and jalapenos to food processor and pulse four 1-second pulses.

6.    Place Dutch oven over medium-high burner, and heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil until shimmering. Add the onion/jalapenos mixture and cook for about 8 minutes until they have softened.  Add pressed garlic and continue cooking for 1 additional minute.

7.    While the onions and jalapenos cook, stir in chile paste mixture, diced tomatoes and molasses. Add 2 cups of chicken broth and pre-soaked pinto beans. Once it comes up to a boil, reduce the burner to maintain a simmer

8.    Without washing out the skillet from toasting chiles, add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and heat over a medium-high burner until it begins to shimmer. Use paper towels to dry the beef cubes and sprinkle with 2 teaspoon salt.

9.    Brown the beef in 2 to 3 batches, cooking for 10 minutes on all sides. Add cooked meat to Dutch oven. Deglaze the skillet using 1/2 bottle of beer between batches of beef then adding to Dutch oven.

10.   Stir your Dutch oven to combine.

11.   Add to slow cooker with chopped chipotle pepper and adobo sauce for 3 hours on high.