A super dish for a Super Bowl

Three words that conjure up thoughts of cold winter days and the upcoming Super Bowl are chile con carne or chili con carne, seems that the latter means with meat.

A big steaming bowl of chili sprinkled with shredded cheddar cheese, green onions and topped with sour cream makes the Super Bowl halftime very special, no matter who is winning.

Now, Brightway Center located on 2511 county Road 15, near Smithfield, is holding a chili cook-off contest that is right in season for the hot and spicy tomato stew known as chili.

It will be held Feb. 9 but the committee needs to find out by Saturday how many contestants want to compete for the $50 “People’s Choice” award.

Those interested can call the center at (740) 733-7480 and let Cathy Takach know. They are hoping for at least 10 chili chefs.

The $5 entry fee stated on the form has now been dropped, so all that is needed are the candidates to show up with a crockpot of their favorite chili recipe at noon on Feb. 9 and wait until all the diners cast a vote.

The cost for those tasting the chili will be $5 to sample the different entries and then go back for some more of a favorite.

This is a new contest for Brightway, which is trying to hold “fun” fund- raisers. So those who choose not to cook can come out and be a money-making participant in the tasting contest.

Virginia Young is the chairman for the event, with Sherry Mathews as a member of the service board.

Chili can be prepared so many ways, and almost everyone has a special way of making it. Some use ground beef, some use cubes of chuck roast, some add crisp bacon, some squeeze in lime juice, some add beans and some none at all – but all have their own secret spices to give it just the right flavor.

Again, some like it in the bowl with crackers, some with bread and butter, some with cornmeal muffins.

Some put it over spaghetti for a Cincinnati-style chili, and some put it over rice or noodles.

The recipes that follow belong to no one in particular. They were just found in recipe books or magazines.

This one is called Texas Red Chili, but I’m sure that anyone in Ohio can make it. That is supposed to be a joke, but Lamont did not think it was funny.

Texas Red Chili

1 pound ground beef

Medium onion, chopped

1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/8 teaspoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon vinegar

1-pound can tomato sauce

2 cups water

2 cups pinto beans, cooked, or large can ranch-style beans

In Dutch oven, brown ground beef and onion. Drain off fat. Add vinegar and seasonings. Stir well. Add tomato sauce, beans and water. Simmer over low heat 30 minutes. If you prefer thick chili, put 2 tablespoons flour in a jar and add 1/2 cup water, cover and shake until mixed. Pour into chili and stir well.

Note: A suggestion is to serve with slices of cheese; cold, crisp apple slices; and Mexican cornbread. If there is any left the next day, put it on hot dogs for a Coney Island dog. Serves four.

Most chili lovers go for the tomato variety, with a bright red color, but there are others who favor a chili that is bland in color and uses chicken and Great Northern beans.

Hearty White Bean Chili

2 tablespoons oil

Small onion, chopped

Yellow or red pepper, chopped

Garlic powder to taste

4-ounce can chopped green chiles

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cumin

2 chicken breasts, cooked and diced

3 tablespoons butter melted

1/4 cup flour

1/2 cup cream

2 cups chicken broth

1 cup frozen corn

15-ounce can Great Northern beans

Saute onion, pepper and garlic powder in oil until cooked. Mix with green chiles, spices and chicken and set aside. In a Dutch oven, combine butter and flour and cook over medium heat until blended. Stir in liquids until smooth. Add onion/chicken mixture, corn and beans. Cook over low heat for about 30 minutes. It also can be cooked in a crockpot on low for four hours.

This recipe was in the Kitchen Keepsakes Cookbook and listed under the Kid’s Food section.

Children might find it more exciting to eat chili out of a biscuit formed and baked into a cup. They always like discovering new shapes.

Chili in a Cup

1 pound ground beef

Small onion, chopped

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon garlic

15-ounce can tomato sauce

10-ounce can refrigerated biscuits

10 slices American cheese

Brown beef and onion in a frying pan. Drain grease. Add seasonings and stir well. Blend in tomato sauce. Cook over low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. In the meantime, roll out each biscuit on a lightly floured surface to make a 4-inch circle. Turn a muffin tin upside down and grease the outside of the cup. Press individual dough over the outside of the cup. Bake at 400 degrees about 10 minutes until lightly browned. Remove biscuit cups immediately and turn right side up on a cookie sheet. Cut cheese slices into 3-inch circles; add cheese trimmings to chili-meat mixture, stirring until melted. Spoon into biscuit cups and top with cheese circles. Bake 3 to 5 minutes until cheese melts. Makes 10 biscuit cups.

I know there is venison and other wild game in the freezers of hunters in the area, and it can be cooked into a white type of chili that is served over rice or noodles.

This recipe makes from four to six servings, depending on how much meat is used and how hungry the people eating the meal are at the moment.

This recipe was in Kitchen Keepsakes Cookbook and is an original recipe from an avid hunter.

Wild Game Chili

Venison or wild duck, cubed

Salt, pepper and garlic powder

Hot oil

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons onion, grated

2 tablespoons pimento, chopped

10.5-ounce can cream of mushroom soup

1 tablespoon fresh parsley or 1 teaspoon dried

2 teaspoons wine or sherry

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, more or less

1 tablespoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup mushrooms, chopped

Use whatever amount of meat is available or to the liking of the diners. Sprinkle game with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Saute in hot oil until browned on all sides. Remove meat from pan and dispose of oil. In a Dutch oven melt butter. Add the rest of the ingredients, adding water if necessary to thin the stew. Add browned meat and simmer for 60 minutes.

Mexican Corn Bread was mentioned with the Texas Red Chili above. Here is the recipe from the Kitchen Keepsakes Cookbook. It calls for cream-style corn, with a layer of green chiles and shredded Longhorn cheese in the middle.

Mexican Corn Bread

1 cup yellow cornmeal

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon baking powder

2 eggs, beaten

8-ounce can cream-style corn

2/3 cups corn oil

8-ounce carton sour cream

4-ounce can green chiles, chopped and drained

1 teaspoon sugar

2 cups shredded Longhorn cheese

Mix cornmeal, salt and baking powder together. Add eggs, corn, oil and sour cream. Mix well and pour half of the batter into an 8-inch square, greased baking pan. Spread green chiles, 1 cup cheese and sugar over the batter. Cover with remaining half of batter. Top with one cup of cheese and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Note: l used shredded cheddar cheese on one occasion, and I reduced the corn oil to 1/2 cup to cut fat calories. It was very good as well.

Now one thing for the Super Bowl that does not pertain to chili – popcorn.

The fluffy grains of corn have been enjoyed at sports events ever since the pigskin was kicked over the goal post and a baseball was knocked over the fence. The Popcorn Board calls this a “guy thing,” but goes on to say that gals love it, too. It is Maple Bacon Popcorn Mix and is best served warm, it is noted.

Maple Bacon

Popcorn Mix

8 cups popped popcorn

6 slices thick-cut bacon

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

8 cups popped popcorn

2/3 cup pecan halves, coarsely chopped

2/3 cup dried cranberries

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon maple extract

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a jellyroll pan with foil. Place wire rack in pan. Arrange bacon in single layer on rack. Bake 15 minutes or until ends of bacon start to curl. Remove and reserve 2 tablespoons drippings. Brush bacon with 2 tablespoons maple syrup and bake 15 minutes until browned.

Cool then coarsely chop bacon. Combine popcorn, pecans and cranberries in a large bowl. Combine butter, black pepper, maple extract, remaining 2 tablespoons maple syrup and reserved bacon drippings. Cook over low heat until butter is melted. Drizzle over popcorn mixture and mix thoroughly. Spread popcorn mixture in jellyroll or roasting pan. Bake 5 minutes. Toss in bacon pieces. Serve warm.

(McCoy can be contacted at emccoy@heraldstaronline.com)