From the Editor’s Files: I didn’t win, but you still asked for the recipe

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By Paul Rhodes, editor and publisher

A week ago, we had the second Chili and Soup Cook-off in Cheney, as a prelude to the football playoff game Friday night.
The event two years ago was a hit, even with a rainy night, and this year’s cook-off was equally successful, with around 300 people trekking Main Street to sample chili and soup entries. Now, it looks like this will become an annual event in the fall.
Here at The Times-Sentinel building, Travis Mounts and I got into the spirit of things, and prepared both a soup and a chili. Travis made up a chicken soup that ended up being called “Maybe Chicken Soup,” and I made a family-favorite chili that can either be made with or without meat.
Everyone got a kick out of Travis’ soup name, which came about when organizers asked him what kind of soup he was going to make. He replied, “I don’t know…maybe chicken.”
As the evening progressed, Travis and I got to see lots of folks who normally don’t venture into our office unless they’re paying for a subscription in person or have other business with us. It was nice to see so many people in one evening, and to share a little soup and chili with them.
Travis and I didn’t win anything, and that’s okay. It was just fun to participate, and lots of folks did say they liked our entries. So my hat is off to the folks at Kirkham Michael who won the chili contest, and Eta Theta Sorority, which won the soup contest.
The best praise that I got was late in the evening when a reader raved about my chili, and asked if there was any way I could print the recipe in the paper so she would have it. Here at Times-Sentinel Newspapers we try our best to fulfill reader requests, so here goes:

Paul’s Bean and Vegetable Chili
This chili started out as a vegetarian recipe, because we have a family member who mostly eats vegetarian and we like to share this chili with him. For more protein, I often ad either ground turkey or ground beef. For the cook-off, I used beef, so it will be one of the ingredients listed here. This is for a smaller batch of chili, so the recipe can easily be doubled:

About ¾ of a pound of hamburger
1 can kidney beans
1 can black beans
1 can Great Northern beans
1 can crushed tomatoes (or stewed)
1 can petite diced tomatoes
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
Salt to taste
2 carrots peeled and cut into small pieces
½ onion finely chopped
1 green pepper , cored and cut into small chunks
1 yellow pepper, prepared the same
1 small zucchini, peeled and cut into small chunks

Brown the hamburger and set aside. Take all of the vegetables and saute in olive oil. In a soup or stock pot, combine all ingredients. All of the canned ingredients are basic 15-16 ounce cans. If you use the crushed tomatoes, add a dash of sugar to the pot. For stewed tomatoes, run them through a blender and don’t add the sugar, unless it needs it for taste at the end. Cook for about an hour, and check the chili’s consistency and taste. Time to eat!
Editor’s note: Don’t forget…this started out as a vegetarian chili, and is very good served without the meat. Usually when adding meat, I prefer ground turkey…or use chopped turkey left over from Thanksgiving this year!