From the Farm

FROM the FARM: Time for chili for a good cause

2013-02-20T00:00:00Z FROM the FARM: Time for chili for a good causeBy Philip Potempa 219.852.4327

Next month, it's once again time to crown our region's own chili recipe stand-out for a good cause.

Merrillville High School Key Club and the Lupus Foundation of America, Indiana Chapter are hosting the 11th Anniversary Northwest Indiana Chili Cook-Off and Tasting Event at Merrillville High School, 276 E. 68th Place, from 3 to 6 p.m. March 9. This year's event is in the cafeteria and guests and contestants enter at Entrance J.

When I was first asked to be a judge for this event the year it launched in 2003, I never expected to still be critiquing delicious and inventive chili a decade later.

I'm told just five contestant spots remain and "it's first come, first served" until the March 2 deadline to fill the spots.

Applications from individuals and organizations are accepted at You can also contact the contest committee chair Carrie Bedwell at to request an application or call her at (219) 650-5307, ext. 7115.

Contestants can begin set up at 2 p.m. and MUST be in attendance for a meeting at 2:30 p.m.

Contestants submit a $25 refundable deposit upon registration. The check will be returned at the event or may be placed in the voting tip jar. For contestants who fail to attend, the $25 is kept as a donation to the Lupus Foundation.

Each contestant should provide an ample supply of chili to serve samples. Last year, approximately 300 people attended. Chili should be prepared off-site and brought in a container suitable for keeping the chili warm. Each contestant should provide a tablecloth and theme items to enhance presentation.

The LFA provides taste cups, napkins, bowls and spoons. Condiments and spices must be provided by the contestant. A list of rules and suggestions is available on the LFA website.

Official judging is at 4 p.m. The Judges' Award winner for the Best All-Around Chili and the People's Choice Award prizes are presented at 6 p.m.

Funds raised will be credited to each contestant's tip jar, and contestants can also donate their $25 deposit. Admission to the event is $5 at the door.

This week's recipe is for a chili favorite from teacher Stephen Foster who lives in the history-rich landscape of the Pullman neighborhood in Chicago.

Steve's Perfect Grade Chili

 1 pound ground turkey (or ground beef)

1 onion, chopped

1 green pepper, chopped

2 (15-ounce) cans tomato sauce

1 (8-ounce) can tomato paste

1 (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chilies

1 (15.5-ounce) can chili beans, undrained

1 (15.5-ounce) can black beans, undrained

1 (15.5-ounce) can kidney beans (either dark or light), undrained

1 (15.25-ounce) can whole kernel corn, undrained

1 (7-ounce) can chopped green chilies

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

Garnish: corn chips, shredded cheese, chopped raw onion, sour cream

DIRECTIONS: Brown turkey with onions, until thoroughly cooked and onions are transparent. Add all the other ingredients (do not drain any of the cans - beans, corn, tomatoes with chilies, or chilies. Stir. Cook on medium high heat until it comes to a boil. Stir occasionally. Turn down heat to let chili simmer 20 minutes. Serve in bowls and add desired toppings.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. He can be reached at or (219) 852-4327.

Copyright 2014 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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