Chili Cookoff Winners!

On January 21, 2023, Kevin Mort held his annual Chili and Cornbread Cook-off. This annual event is the kickoff to our Porch Party’s for the year.

Darlene Asselin won Best Chili for her amazing vegan mushroom, black bean, and corn chili. The award for Best Cornbread went to Barbara and Earl Bronsord.  The chefs have been kind enough to share their recipes so you can enjoy making these for your family and friends.

Winning Chili Recipe


 Darlene Asselin

Winning Chili Recipe
Mushroom, Black Bean and Corn Chili

Darlene Asselin

Prep Time: 1 hr  | Cook Time: 2 hr  | Servings: 8-10

Description: Vegan, Vegetarian, One Pan Meals, Soup & Stew


2 Tbsp olive oil

2 medium carrots

2 celery stalks

1 medium white onion

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 C dried mushrooms

1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes

1 cup vegetarian bullion (onion, mushroom or vegetable)

2 Tbsp tomato paste

1 28 oz can diced tomatoes

8 oz baby bella mushrooms

1 Tbsp ground cumin

2 Tbsp oregano

2 Tbsp paprika of your choice

5 oz shitake mushrooms

1 28 oz can black beans

8 ounce frozen corn

salt and pepper

1/4 C good quality balsamic vinegar


If using a food processor: place rough cut carrots, celery, and onion in processor and pulse till finely chopped. In a large stockpot, heat oil and sauté vegetables until soft, 5-10 min.  Do not brown. Add finely minced garlic and sauté for an additional 2-3 minutes. If not using food processor, finely chop before adding to stockpot.

In a spice or or coffee grinder, working in small batches, grind dried mushrooms until you have a fine powder. Its best to rough chop the mushrooms so the grinder does not bind up. It will take 2 or3 batches to powder all the mushrooms.

In the food processor, add small can of diced tomatoes, powdered mushrooms, half the bullion and tomato paste and process briefly to mix fully.  The mixture will thicken.  Add to stockpot and briefly sauté 2-5 minutes.

Add large can of tomatoes plus the remaining bullion to the stockpot. Add all spices and taste for salt, adding as needed.  Finely chop the baby bella mushrooms and add to the stock. Allow the stock to barely simmer uncovered for 45 min to an hour to cook mushrooms down.  Add more water if the chili starts to become too thick.

At least 15 min before serving, roughly chop the shitake mushrooms and add to the stockpot.  Add can of black beans with juices and frozen corn and allow to come back to a boil. At least 5 min before serving, add balsamic vinegar to stockpot and reduce heat to a lower simmer. Salt and pepper to taste.


The choice of paprika will determine the level of smokiness and level of heat   Reduce it if you’d like it milder or add 1-2 chopped jalapeno peppers during the main cooking to spice it up.  You can add additional paprika at the end if you are unsure of the level of heat but give it at least 10-15 minutes to incorporate.

The balsamic vinegar is important as it balances any bitter notes from the powdered mushrooms and adds a bit of brightness to the chili. An aged balsamic is perfect for this.

Winning Cornbread Recipe


Barbara and Earl Bronsord

Winning Cornbread Recipe

Barbara and Earl Bronsord

Preheat oven to 425, and lightly grease an 8” baking pan.

Use a large bowl to mix:

1 cup of fine-grain cornmeal (not self-rising)

3/4 cup of all- purpose flour

3 tablespoons of sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder

1/2 teaspoon of baking soda

1/2 teaspoon of salt

In another bowl, mix:

2 large beaten eggs

1 1/2 cups of buttermilk

6 tablespoons of melted butter

Pour the buttermilk mixture into the cornmeal mixture and mix together.

Pour the batter into the baking pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the top is golden brown and a tester inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!