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Cook chili like a champ

Posted on Tuesday, October 9, 2012 at 2:18 pm

Spicy, mild, beans or meat only, tomato-based or white — there are as many ways to make chili as there are people who make it.

But if you plan to win the Manchester Fire Department Chili Cookoff, or just fine-tune your chili cooking chops, take a few hints from Larry Walton, the 2011 Terlingua International Chili Champion.

(Click for the Times guide to large batch cooking)

His top five tips are,

Chili Powder
Using the right chili powder makes all the difference in the world. Mexene Chili Powder and Seasoning Mix is a good choice because it’s well rounded and balanced.

Choose premium quality ground beef with an 80/20 percent beef to fat ratio. Or for an interesting twist, choose fresh boneless, skinless chicken thighs such as Tyson’s all natural products, which are especially tender and juicy. (Find chili recipes at

A key essential is to brown your meat. It not only adds richness to your dish but also helps with the dark color of the chili.

The spices are a main ingredient to bring out all the flavors. It’s best to use spice powders, since they’re more pungent.

Secret Ingredient
Last but not least, add your secret “booster” such as chili powder, paprika, cocoa or a few dashes of Louisiana Hot Sauce at the end of cooking to wow your tasters.

Give Larry’s award-winning chili recipe — or any of these other recipes — a taste test, and see how fast your friends and family name you their favorite chili champ.

Find more tips and recipes at

Championship Chili

Larry Walton’s 2011 Terlingua International Chili Champion Recipe, courtesy of the Chili Appreciation Society International, Inc.

Yield: 2 pounds, or 8 servings

Mixture A:

1  tablespoon onion granules

1  tablespoon garlic granules

1  tablespoon beef granules

1  tablespoon chicken granules

2  tablespoons Mexene chili powder

1/8  teaspoon salt

2  dashes Louisiana hot sauce

Mixture B:

1  teaspoon garlic granules

1  tablespoon cumin

1  package Sazon Goya

2  tablespoons Mexene chili powder

1/8  teaspoon cayenne pepper

2  dashes Louisiana hot sauce

Additional Ingredients:

2  pounds ground beef

1  14.5-ounce can beef broth

½  14.5-ounce can chicken broth

1½  8-ounce cans tomato sauce

1/8  teaspoon brown sugar, if needed

Salt to taste

Mix mixtures A and B in separate bowls. Set aside.

Brown ground beef then drain off grease. Add beef broth, chicken broth and tomato sauce. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a slow simmer for 40 minutes.

Add mixture A and simmer for 40 minutes.

Add mixture B and cook on low heat for 25 minutes. If too spicy, add brown sugar and salt to taste.


Black and White Chicken Chili

Yield: 10 servings

6  Tyson Fresh Boneless Skinless chicken thighs

1  large onion, chopped

2  jalapeño peppers, fresh; seeded and finely chopped

1  tablespoon garlic, chopped

1  14.5-ounce can chicken broth

2  15-ounce cans great Northern beans, not drained

2   15-ounce cans black beans, drained

1  tablespoon Mexene chili powder

1 1/2  teaspoons ground cumin

1/2  teaspoon salt

Cut chicken into 1/2-inch cubes.

Spray large, deep pot or saucepan with nonstick cooking spray. Heat over medium-high.

Add chicken; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add onion, peppers and garlic. Cook 5 minutes longer, stirring occasionally. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 20 to 30 minutes or until chicken is done (internal temperature of 170°F).

Serving Suggestion: Top individual servings of chili with sour cream. Serve with mixed green salad and hot tortillas or tortilla chips. Refrigerate leftovers or freeze in a tightly sealed nonmetallic container or freezer bag.


Easy Chicken Chili

Yield: 4 servings

6  Tyson Fresh Boneless Skinless chicken thighs (cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces)

2  16-ounce cans kidney beans, not drained

2  14.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes, not drained

1  1.6-ounce package Mexene Chili Seasoning Mix

1  tablespoon garlic pepper sauce, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan. Stir until well blended. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.

Serve with shredded cheese and tortilla chips or crackers.


Hot Dog Sauce

Yield: 6 servings

1  pound ground beef

1  medium onion, diced

3   tablespoons Mexene chili powder

1  teaspoon salt

3/4  teaspoon oregano

1/4  teaspoon cumin

1/4  teaspoon red pepper flakes

2  cups water

Brown meat (breaking up pieces) and onions; drain. At this point you can run it through a chopper if a finer dice is desired.

Add all other spices; mix well. Add water and simmer for one hour.

Can be made ahead of time and frozen in a nonmetallic container or freezer bag.