Gloria Bradley, Naperville, IL, took top honors at the 23rd annual National Beef Cook-Off, Sept. 25, in Omaha, NE. Bradley won $40,000 and "Best of Beef" for her recipe "Fiesta Roast Beef with Tropical Fruit Relish."

Sixteen finalists competed in two categories, eight each in Ground Beef and Prepared Beef. Recipes had to be prepared in 30 minutes or less and contain no more than six ingredients.

Winning the ground beef category was "Caesar Salad Beef Burgers on Garlic Crostini," created by Jason Boulanger, Williston, VT.

Each category winner received $10,000 with an additional $30,000 for the overall "Best of Beef" winner.

Bradley's winning recipe (pictured above):

Preparation and cooking time: 30 minutes. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

1 1/2 to 2 lbs. fully cooked beef tri-tip roast

2 cans (8 oz. each) tropical fruit salad in light syrup

1 large orange

2 to 3 tsp. spicy brown mustard

1/4 to 1/2 cup diced green bell pepper

salt and pepper

orange slices (optional)

1. Remove roast from package; place in microwave-safe dish. Transfer 3 to 4 Tbsp. liquid from package to small saucepan; set aside. Discard any remaining liquid. Cover roast and microwave on high 7-10 minutes or until heated through. Let stand, covered, 5 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, drain fruit salad reserving 3 Tbsp. of the syrup. Cut up any large pieces of fruit; set aside. Grate 1 tsp. peel from orange; set aside. Cut orange in half. Squeeze juice from half orange; peel and chop orange sections from remaining half.

3. Combine reserved syrup, orange juice, mustard, orange peel, pepper sauce; salt and pepper as desired in medium bowl; whisk until blended. Measure 1/4 cup of the orange juice mixture; add to beef liquid in saucepan. Set aside. Add reserved fruit, chopped orange and bell pepper to remaining orange juice mixture in bowl; mix well. Cover and refrigerate.

4. Carve roast across the grain into thin slices. Bring mixture in saucepan to a boil; remove from heat. Arrange beef and fruit relish side by side on platter. Spoon hot sauce over beef, as desired. Garnish with orange slices, if desired.

The 16 finalist recipes are showcased in a new "National Beef Cook-Off, 1999 Prize Winning Recipes" brochure. To receive a free copy call 800/848-9088, or write Prize Winning Recipes '99, ANCW, P.O. Box 3881, Englewood, CO 80155.

The next National Beef Cook-Off will take place in 2001 in Tucson, AZ. For rules visit www.beef.org or write to the address listed above.