Chili Cook Off (chili verde that is)

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IMG_20140819_154206_415It is time for the chili cook off in Westerville, Ohio again. I was unable to attend last years event due to an illness in the family. The year before that, I went home with 1st place in the Ohio Regional amateur division. This was open to five states! It was truly an unforgettable experience to be a part of. This year’s contest will be at the Iron Pony.

The contest brings in amateurs such as myself, professionals from the ICS, (International Chili Society), local chefs, and professionals from surrounding fire departments and law enforcement. The public has the opportunity to purchase a tasting kit, which includes a score card for their favorite chili in different divisions. There are also vendors that sell chili seasonings, hot peppers of all types, clothing, pepper earrings, and just about any thing else you can imagine.

Since the amateur division judging is this weekend, I made the grocery run to my favorite Mexican market today for my staples. About 5 lbs. of pork stew meat, 20 Poblano chilies, 20 large tomatillos, fresh cilantro, and a few jalapenos. The rest of my ingredients I already have. Garlic, onion, chipotle flakes, Mexican oregano, cumin, coriander, white pepper, brown sugar, chicken broth, olive oil, and masa (corn flour) for thickening.

The most time consuming task, and what I believe makes my chili verde stand out, is the fact that I roast my Poblanos and tomatillos before I peel and puree them. This is also what makes this chili green. Green in Spanish is verde. It is quite difficult to get the same amount of spicy heat in each batch, due to the fact that the heat levels are never the same in the peppers. I also like the flavor best after three days of simmering. The flavors change so much over the course of each day,  it is a challenge to leave enough for judging. Occasionally I get carried away with the heat and not everyone can enjoy the fire it leaves.

I will follow this post up with a detailed recipe and pictures after the event. If I have left your mouth watering and searching for green chili, then we are on the same quest.   In fitness, Bob

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