• Last modified 675 days ago (Sept. 15, 2022)


Spice of life: Champs say simple chili is the best

Staff writer

Bob and Barb McCurdy say they don’t have any secrets to making good chili, but they’ve won first place three times at Marion County Park and Lake’s annual chili cookoff.

The 16th cookoff will be Oct. 1, and the McCurdys — with help from their daughter, Marcy Davis — will vie again for first prize.

Barb McCurdy tries not to make chili too spicy. The simpler, the better.

“The most popular is the one that tastes just like plain ol’ chili,” she said.

Their team, which also has won 2nd- and 3rd-place over the years, has cooked white chili as well.

Chili is a fall staple in most homes.

One of the McCurdys’ recipes is for standard chili from the cookbook “The Wholesome Dish.”

The Best Classic Chili Recipe


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 pound 90% lean ground beef
  • 2 ½ tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1½ cups beef broth
  • 15-ounce can petite diced tomatoes
  • 16-ounce can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 8-ounce can tomato sauce


Add olive oil to a large soup pot and place it over medium-high heat for two minutes. Add the onion. Cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add ground beef to pot. Break it apart with a wooden spoon. Cook for six to seven minutes until the beef is browned, stirring occasionally.

Add chili powder, cumin, sugar, tomato paste, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Stir until well-combined.

Add broth, diced tomatoes (with juice), drained beans, and tomato sauce. Stir well.

Bring chili to a low boil. Then reduce the heat (low to medium-low) to gently simmer the chili, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove pot from heat. Let chili rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

The cookoff will be from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Oct. 1 in the Lake Hall. The entry fee is $15, and tasting kits are $5. Money raised goes to projects at the lake.

Last modified Sept. 15, 2022