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West Chester firefighters share contest-winning chili recipe

Post Date:12/10/2018 9:53 AM

Make no beans about it – when it comes to chili cook-offs in southeast Butler County, the West Chester Fire Department takes the cornbread!

Firefighters from West Chester and Liberty Townships competed in a Firefighter’s Chili Cook Off on Saturday, Dec 1. The friendly competition was hosted by members of C3, the Caring Community Collaborative, as part of its fourth annual Empty Bowls event benefiting local non-profits.

C3 announced the winner in a Facebook post Wednesday evening.

Lt. Dave Mainwaring, who cooked up the winning chili, shared his department’s special recipe for anyone wishing to make the competition-tested dish at home. The recipe should make six servings, which Lt. Mainwaring said converts to enough chili to feed about three-and-a-half hungry firefighters.

West “Best” Chester Fire Department: 3 Alarm Chili

Chili may be prepared up to two days in advance if kept covered and refrigerated. Reheat to serve.


  • 1 pound coarsely ground beef chuck
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage leaves
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 shallot, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded, and chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper, halved, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper, or to taste
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 cup Beef Stock or Broth (burgundy wine or beer also works well)
  • One 16-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • One 16-ounce can of diced tomatoes (canned tomatoes with green chilis works well)
  • One 16-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • One 16-ounce bag corn chips (for garnish and snacking)

Directions: In a medium hot soup pot, brown the chuck with the thyme, sage and garlic. When browned, remove and drain beef – do not rinse – and set aside.

In the same pot, heat the oil and add the chopped onion, garlic, shallot, red bell pepper and jalapeno. Sauté until the vegetables begin to brown, about 7 to 10 minutes.

Add chili powder, cayenne pepper, chipotle pepper, salt and cook, stirring until spices begin to stick to the pan. Add stock or wine/beer and cook until liquid is reduced by half.

Add tomatoes and bring to a boil. Stir in beans and browned beef then simmer, partially covered, over medium low heat for at least one hour. Adjust spices to your desire. Serve with corn chips.

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