Award Winning Chili Recipe


 This is what one would officially refer to as  “hauling out the big guns”.  I’m sharing my award winning Chili Recipe.

About five years ago, I won 2nd Place with my chili recipe in a Douglas County Chili Cook-off down in Castle Rock.  I had to come up with a name for it when I entered, and since it was nothing like my Dad used to make when I was growing up in Kansas, I called it “Toto, I Have A Feeling We’re Not In Kansas Anymore Chili”.



The key to this is good quality meat and spices and a long perking simmer. Sprinkle with some grated cheddar and chopped cilantro, and serve with warm flour tortillas, saltine crackers, or even corn chips…it’s a great meal.


Before we get to the recipe, I’d like to talk about my local spice shop, Savory Spice. Savory Spice is a locally owned mom and pop operation that specializes in providing all things spice: freshly ground spices, over 140 signature seasonings, baking extracts, organic selections, hard to find spices and more. It’s truly a wonderful store that offers exceptional customer service from a very knowledgeable staff. You just think you can go in there and stump them with some crazy sounding spice that has been listed in an obscure recipe. Forget it.  They’ve got it. And I like that you can purchase that obscure spice in a small quantity, while buying larger bottles of things you use every day.


Savory Spice Shop in Historic Downtown Littleton


Savory Spice Shop grinds scores of spices weekly, also sells a great line up of exotic salts, specialty items like achiote paste, kefir lime leaves, preserved lemon, rubs, seafood blends, curry powders, dip and dressing mixes, pure and potent extracts, baking extracts, liquor extracts, garnishing sauces, dehydrated mushrooms, hot sauces, pomegranate molasses, cookbooks, reference guides…and it’s ten minutes away from home.



You can clearly see why I practically live in this store.  It’s FABulous.  Find a spice you’ve never heard of or don’t know what to do with?  Just visit their website, it’s chock full of recipes and ideas.


I don’t buy my spices anywhere else, as the flavor can’t be matched. They’ve recently started franchising their operation. When you visit their web site you may find that you’ve got a location in your back yard. If not, you can always order from them online.



Savory Spice Shop has generously agreed to give away a gift set of all the spices you’ll need to make my award winning chili.  Let’s take a look at the recipe.


5.0 from 1 reviews
Award Winning Chili Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Chili, Soup, Stew
Serves: 12
  • 1 pound Ground sirloin
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • ½ pound Italian sausage
  • 2 whole onions, chopped
  • 2 jalapeno pepper, seeds and stems removed and minced
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 8 garlic clove, chopped
  • 2 tbs Chili Powder
  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbs ground cumin
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 3 Tbs tomato paste
  • 1 TBS ground coriander
  • 1 Tbs. Mexican oregano
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 California bay leaves
  • 1½ cup Merlot Wine
  • 28 ounces canned tomatoes
  • 28 ounce Pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 14 ounces Kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 C. water
  • 1 tsp Better than Bouillon beef bouillon
  • ½ cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  1. Heat a large dutch oven over medium high heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil.
  2. Remove casings from sausage. Add sausage, onion, sirloin, pork, jalapeno, green bell pepper and garlic.
  3. Cook 8 minutes or until sausage and beef are browned. Add chili powder and next 10 ingredients (through bay leaves) and cook 1 minute stirring constantly.
  4. Stir in wine, tomatoes and drained beans. Dissolve bouillon in water and add to chili. Add more water if necessary for consistency.
  5. Cover and cook on low for at least 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  6. Uncover and cook on low for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Discard bay leaves.



Only two hoops to jump through to enter to win:

  1. Visit and take a look at their spice collection. When something exotic catches your eye, come back here and leave a comment about the most unique spice you’d like to try and why.
  2. Head over to Facebook and “like” Highlands Ranch FoodieCome back here and leave a comment that you did.

Contest ends Friday the 16th at midnight.  Winner will be chosen randomly and announced Saturday morning.


Award Winning Chili…It’s What’s for Dinner.




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  1. Vickie Hemphill says

    Done and done! I feel like I have already won because Savory Spice has sent me so many crazy good spices and blends, AND I have your prize winning chili recipe. I love these unusual ingredients like wine and Italian sausage. Yum!

      • says

        LOL, and now that I’ve left a comment on Savory Spice, I’ll tell you that I am SMITTEN with their shop and the crazy good service and spices! I just got my Harissa blend and made some sauce that I put on a frittata and I tried it on baked chicken, too. LOVE it!
        It’s always fun to see what they will throw in as a freebie when I get my orders, too. I’m a total fan of that shop and enjoyed those pictures!

  2. says

    First – congrats on the contest showing. Second – Thanks for sharing your recipe – It sounds delicious and we’ll have to try it. Third – I visited the spice site again and I can see why you like it, plus I know they are good. I like their spice names and the one that caught my eye was “Red Rocks Hickory Smoke Seasoning” for use in my scrambled eggs of course. Finally I did that facebook thingy.

  3. says

    Hi Lea Ann. I’m not entering the giveaway but wanted to comment on how wonderful your chili recipe looks! I love sirloin in chili and really love chili! Also share your sentiments about Savory Spice shop. I did a post about our local shop sometime ago and am mad for all the different spices they offer. Really an amazing store.

    I had difficulty leaving a comment this morning on your Joy the Baker post and wanted to say OF COURSE you can bake! We’ve seen you do it. Glad you’ve gotten on board with this fun endeavor but don’t sell yourself short! You are a wonderful cook.

  4. says

    This chili looks fantastic. No wonder you placed in the contest. I love Savory Spice Shop too. I do have to say that I stumped them some time ago with a request for pandan. I didn’t know whether to be sad that they didn’t have it or amazed that I had one up on them. Beautiful photo!

  5. says

    Congratulations! What a creative name for your chili! Does Anise essential oil qualify as a spice? When I visited their website, I was intrigued by the thought of using it not just in pastries and desserts but in savory dishes as well. Real pure wasabi powder is also hard to find and it quickly tickles nasal passages!

  6. says

    Congratulations! What a creative name for your chili!
    Wasabi poder tickles the nasal passages and it is great with sushi..pure, unadulterated wasbi powder is rare to find ..

  7. says

    The chili looks and sounds outstanding! I can see how it won with it! And I LOVE Savory Spice … I order stuff from there all the time!! The one thing I have never ordered that I would love to try.. their vanilla bean paste…. oh the things I could make with that!!!!

  8. says

    First of all, thanks for that killer chili recipe! WOW! is all I can say.
    I went over to the spice shop and got carried away with the extracts. That’s what I’d love. Saw several there I wanted.

  9. says

    Great job and congratulations on the chili! And, this is a blast from the past – I haven’t thought about that shop in years! My sister-in-law and brother must still go there. I remember they had the best dip mixes! Oh my gosh – I forgot all about that. Seems like there was a bacon dressing that was out of this world. I used to live in Littleton, and Englewood and Aurora. Thanks for sharing your award winning recipe!

  10. says

    I’ve always like you ;).

    The Aji Amarillo chile powder sure looks interesting. I’ve been using the paste, but I could see where the powder would add a bit of zip to a lot of dishes.

  11. Cat says

    I would love to try Sumac, powdered because I’ve never heard of it and would love to use it to flavor some meat or rice dish!

  12. Leann Lindeman says

    First thing to catch my eye is the thai green curry blend…. I probably will have to go back and purchase some!

  13. says

    I’m totally digging your chili recipe, how could it be bad with wine? I checked out the spice shop…love the chile selection! I checked out the spice shop and I’m intrigued by the tomato powder.

  14. Aurora Graystone says

    This is an awesome chili recipe; however, what about the 1 Cup of water, and the Beef Bouillon listed in the Ingredients section – but not in the instructions? Thanks for any help.


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