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Michael Raines and Ken Crawford

Central Christian Church looked a bit like a cowboy watering hole Sunday afternoon with boots, bandanas and pots full of chili decorating the fellowship hall, but it was just the annual “John Shinn Chili Cook-Off.”

Michael Raines and Pastor Ken Crawford brought home the blues with “Sweet Red Pepper,” Michael’s winner in the traditional category and Ken’s “White Ghost” concoction that took the most creative category.

I asked these lay potagers if they had any words of advice for great chili making.  Michael revealed that he bought his meat for the traditional chili at local Dallas institution, Jimmy’s Food Store

Ken shared his winning recipe for creative chili (a vegetarian offering) and it follows this article.

The real winners were, of course, the church members and guests who got to sample ten delicious pots of red.

Here’s what you do, take not a bowl, but a muffin tin, so you can choose a variety of chilis, top them with traditional condiments like onion, cheese, corn chips and jalapeños, grab a handful of saltines and head to your table. Waiting there is hot-from-the-kitchen hush puppies, deep-fried on-premise by Frank Whitington.

The cook-off may not compete with the history or prestige of the Terlingua Chili Cook-Off, hailed as the granddaddy of them all, but it’s food, fun and fellowship with roots in Central Christian Church.  Named after long-time member and two-time chili winner, the late John Shinn, the annual cook-off is another way to celebrate love, now and then, and the memories created at Central.

Come be a part of this wonderful congregation.  Sunday worship is at 11 a.m. on Sunday mornings and church in the dog park is at 9 a.m. the first and third Sundays of the month.  All are welcome.

White Ghost Chili

1 large sweet potato (diced)

5 can beans including cannellini, great northern, white kidney, lima and garbanzo

Garlic cloves (pressed)

Chili powder mix of your choice


1 bottle Shine light

Avocado oil

½ carton vegetable broth

Add beans, broth and ½ bean juice to crockpot with pot on high

Sauté potato and garlic in avocado oil till browned

Add ½ chili mix to bean and ½ to potatoes

Transfer potatoes to crock pot

Deglaze potato pan with beer and boil off alcohol.  Add to crock pot and simmer.

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