Sunday, October 16, 2005

2005 Chili Cookoff

Julie and I entered the Sturbridge Lakes Chili Cookoff again this year.

We like making chili, and have our own recipes that we have been honing for the last couple of years. We'll also keep our eyes open for any new chili recipes that look interesting in the months leading up to the contest. This year, I had found an intersting seafood chili recipe, and then promptly misplaced it.

We start making our chilis a day before the contest. We noticed in the first year that we participlated that the chili tasted better the next day, so now we partially make them a day early, and let them sit in the fridge

Julie entered a turkey and green chile recipe, with chick peas. She used a mix of poblanos, cubanelles, long hots, serannos, and a bit of roasted habenero. She used diced bits of red chiles for color. It was very tasty. She had diced avocado and montery jack cheese to go with it.

I took my 'Road Kill Chili' recipe from last year, winner for 'most unusual chili' (it was a green chili, with pork in it), and made it with fish this year. I used the same chiles as Julie (excluding the habenero), but in a different combination, and stayed green. The base of the chili is two forty-eight ounce cans of chicken broth, reduced, with celery, garlic, shallots, and tomatillos. I threw in a can each of black and white beans, and three tablespoons of shredded ginger. It cooked down for about six hours, and I added a pound of shreaded cod (pan fried) and a half pound of diced scallops (broiled). I called it "Beachcomber's Chili", since a good name is half the battle in a chili cookoff.

There were twenty entries this year, and well over a hundred people judging. Everyone tastes the chilis, then picks their favorites in four categories, hottest, best non-beef, most kid friendly, and most unusual.

This year, there were a lot of non-beef chilis. A habenaro and rosemary chile won for hottest, but it wasn't mouth-peel hot; simply warmer than anything else. Last year, we had some real scortchers, and the tasters developed a strategy to save the hotter ones for the end. A deer chili won for best non-beef, and a young boy won for most kid friendly, which was a nice surprise to us all.

For the second year in a row, my chili won for most unusual. I got a blue ribbon to add to our awards wall going into the basement, and a kitchen knife set.

I think it is time to retire the family line of my current green chili recipe. With the absense of beef in the chilis this year, I was thinking of going with something more traditional, with using dried chiles and fresh reds, with tomatoes and what not.

I also came up with an idea for a kinda crazy chili. My mom had an appetizer recipe for cocktail parties, using those little hot dogs that Oscar Meyer used to make. The hotdogs were served hot in a sauce that contained catsup, brown sugar, and bourbon. I was thinking of taking this as a base recipe, and adding navy beans, diced vidalia onions, roasted poblanos (or rehydrated anchos), and chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Maybe some roasted green pepper for color. It would sort of be a twisted version of beans and franks, but have a hot and smokey flavor.


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