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THE EATBEAT: Lawyers make some mean chili

Simmer one pound of pinto beans in a Crockpot over night. Fill the Crockpot with one can of beer and water to about three inches below the top edge.

Then you have a good beginning for making North Texas Frijoles con Carne — the recipe that was the judges favorite in the annual contest at the UND School of Law this March. And Austin Lafferty of the sponsoring Phi Alpha Delta legal fraternity was right when he said lawyers make good chili!

Wendy Sturm has been making this North Texas Frijoles con Carne because her new husband is of Hispanic heritage and from north Texas.

She wanted to learn more about his favorite family foods. Her recipe actually is for beans that would traditionally be eaten with tortillas. When asked to enter the chili contest, she thought why not add beef.

After simmering the beans in the Crockpot overnight and filling it with beer and water within 3 inches of the top edge she is well begun.

In the morning, she fries one pound of bacon — not too crispy. Then she keeps the bacon drippings in the pan and sautés one chopped onion, a small can of choppe jalapeño peppers and chopped garlic to taste. She adds the sauté mixture to the beans along with three cans of diced tomatoes.

She uses salt and pepper to taste. She chops the cooked bacon and adds it to the beans. Then she browns one pound of ground beef and adds it to the beans.

“That’s it,” she says, “really simple and easy to customize.”

While the judges favored her chili, the audience favorite was White Chicken Chili by Megan Kvasager. And she was awarded the prize of $50 donated to a favorite charity.

Kvasager begins by turning her Crockpot to high and adding the following ingredients:

4 chicken breasts (boiled and torn apart)

2 cans shoepeg corn, drained

2 cans white northern beans, drained and rinsed

2 cans cream of chicken soup

2 cans chicken broth

1 can rotel (diced tomatoes)

1 stick of butter

1 pound Mexican Velveeta cheese

1 onion (optional)

1 teaspoon each of cumin, salt and pepper

Turn Crockpot to high and add the ingredients. After cooking the chili for an hour on high, turn the Crockpot to low and continue cooking for another three to four hours.

Kvasager says her family generally adds shredded cheese and tortilla chips. She uses shoepeg corn, which is white and sweet with small narrow kernels tightly and unevenly packed on the cob.

She says it is delicious. Her colleagues at the law school and the judges agreed.

In the course of judging a dozen versions of chili it was clear some like it hot and some like it mild. It was also clear that law students have nice Crockpots and must use them often.

And it was clear that little squares of corn bread are needed when you are eating chili.

Reach Hagerty at or (701) 772-1055.