Let the Chili Cook-Offs Begin!


Holy jalapeños! There sure are a lot of chili events coming up in Orlando. If you’ve got a love for this bone-warming dish, consider adding a few of these spicy soirées to your calendar, and the recipe below to your favorites.

Uncle Don’s Chili Cook Off
Saturday, February 1
5 – 8 p.m.
Downtown Winter Garden
Tickets for adults are $10.00 and children are free.
Live music, a beer garden, and chili sampling in support of the Relay For Life of Winter Garden.

The 5th Annual Orlando Chili Cook-off
Saturday, February 8
Gates open at noon
Festival Park, Orlando
Tickets are $3 for children and $12 for adult: $12
Features more than 75 different chili booths, the World Chili Eating Challenge, and a fun kid zone. Judges include Edible Orlando staffers.

Old Florida Outdoor Festival
February 8 & 9
Apopka Amphitheatre
Various ticket prices
Featuring a backyard chili cook-off as well as BBQ cook-off, local farmer’s market, Highwaymen art, and kids activities. Judges will include Edible Orlando‘s own Pam Brandon.

10th Annual Chili Cook Off
Saturday, February 15
6-10 p.m.
Downtown Titusville
Free admission, $10 for 20 chili tasting tickets
Presented by the Rotary Clubs of Titusville, this free admission event will have live music plus a fun 5k.

Hourglass Brewery Chili Cook-Off
Saturday, February 22
4pm – 6pm
255 S. Ronald Reagan Blvd, Longwood
$5 for full tasting, $10 to enter the chili cook-off
The maker of the grand prize winning chili will score $250 at this event supporting Children in Crisis. $1 off all drafts with paid admission.

Rotary Club of Winter Park’s Chili for Charity
Wednesday, February 26
5:30 – 8 p.m.
Winter Park Farmer’s Market
All-inclusive tickets are $25 each in advance / $30 at the door
Local restaurants and caterers will compete for the coveted Peoples’ Choice award and have their dishes evaluated by a select panel of judges, including Edible Orlando editor Katie Farmand.

Butternut Squash Chili
from Edible Boston via EdibleFeast.com

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1½ pound butternut squash (or other winter squash), peeled and cubed
3 stalks celery, chopped
4 cups cooked pinto beans, or 2 cans drained and rinsed
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 cups broth, chicken or vegetable
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cumin

In a large pot, sauté the onion in the olive oil over medium heat until soft. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.

Add the squash, celery, and the remaining ingredients to the pot and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, until all the vegetables are soft.  If you don’t want your beans to be mushy, add them during the last few minutes of cooking.

Serve warm with brown rice or cornbread on the side.