I was one of the judges for the annual Crosslake Chili Contest, and my main goal was to pick a winner that had a unique spin on this traditional dish. There were many entries that reminded me of my mom's chili - comfort food at it's best. I chose two for the top prize, and interesting enough - the other judges chose one of them as their top pick as well.
Judges Choice - Ernie's Chili
Submitted by Edina Realty-Crosslake Office, originally by Ernie's on Gull
I honestly thought this was a queso-based chili, could not eat enough of this. The original recipe serves 160 people, which required scaling it down to a normal-sized recipe. Interestingly enough - there is not one ounce of cheese in here. The combination of spices, mainly chili powder and heavy cream give this chili it's rich flavor.
My Other Top Winner - Jerk Chicken Chili with Coconut Cinnamon Rice
Submitted by Zorbaz, Tina Pierce
This chili was outstanding, such an interesting twist on what we know to be a true chili here in the Midwest. When it was served that day, it also was accompanied by a mango salsa - to me, that's too much layering, plus cilantro is the devil. The recipe she provided did not make enough rice, so I would double it - the single recipe is what is here. I have also included the mango salsa should you want to have that in addition to.