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By Amy Agronis on May 30, 2003 in University

Campus employees ladle their way down a long row of crockpots last Thursday during an event that determined who can claim campus chili chef bragging rights for 2003. The 11th annual Chili Cook Off, sponsored by Military Science, found 75 people lunching beside Hickey Gym. This year saw a record 13 entries -- nine in the individual competition and four in the new departmental category. Bubbling concoctions ranged from traditional meat and tomatoes blends to cheesy, chicken, and vegetarian varieties, including a chili featuring broccoli. Judges were Darlene Hunter, Winona DeBree, Al Harrison, Kathy Von Rummelhoff, Lissa Torfi, Pam Gill-Fisher, Bob Biggs and Scott Futymoski. First place went to Lan Tran, a postgraduate researcher at the primate center for her blend, called a "swift kick in the after bite" by the judging panel. Second place went to Lt. Col. Don Hill of Military Science, and third went to Mary Williams of the Internship and Career Center. Led by Charlotte Honeywell, the history department took home the new perpetual trophy in the team competition. For a copy of Lan Tran's recipe, see below. Pictured, Judge Von Rummelhoff ladles up chili samples.

Smoky Chipotle Chili


2 pounds ground beef

2 onions, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/3 cup chili powder

2 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. black pepper

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

1 Tbsp. semi-sweet chocolate chips (the kind you use for cookies)

1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

3 X 15 oz. cans of diced tomatoes, undrained

1 X 15 oz. cans of Mexican-style chili beans, undrained

1 X 15 oz. can of kidney beans, drained

1 small can (7-8 oz) of chipotle peppers in red adobo sauce, undrained

1 tsp. salt


Puree the chipotle peppers with their sauce in a blender. Add a few tablespoons of water if the mixture is too thick to blend. You will need 1/3 cup of the chipotle puree. Refrigerate remaining puree for another use. Cook ground beef in a large pot over medium-high heat until browned. Drain fat from the beef. Add chopped onion, bell pepper and garlic to beef. Cook until the vegetables are soft, 7-8 minutes. Add chili powder, cumin, cayenne, oregano, salt and black pepper; stir to combine well. Add the tomatoes, both kinds of beans, chocolate and chipotle puree. Cover pot, reduce heat to low and bring mixture to a simmer. Simmer chili covered for 30-40 minutes stirring ccasionally. Season to taste with additional salt and cayenne pepper for added zest. The chili tastes better if made a day ahead, refrigerated and reheated.

(makes about 3 quarts)

Media contact(s)

Amy Agronis, Dateline, (530) 752-1932,