Chili Cook Off 2014

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IMAG0911As promised, I have an update on the Ohio regional competition that I competed in this past weekend. The event was spread out over three days and included participants from the International Chili Society, non- profits such as the VFW, (who won an award by the way), and an amateur division that I was a entrant in.

IMG_20140826_102037_261Two years ago I first participated in this event sponsored by CaJohn’s Fiery Foods of Westerville, Ohio and took 1st place in the five state regional, amateur division. I had never been in a competition like this before and was unsure of what to expect. It was a fun time and I am met alot of great people. There were vendors of all sorts, a car show, activities for the kids, and of course a huge supply of various types of chili to be sampled. On the first day of this event, I entered a Chili Verde, which is green chili. Judging for the amateur division was done by peoples choice. You would purchase a tasting kit and cast your vote for your favorites. I walked away that day with 1st place! What an experience!

The following year, my step-father was in the hospital and I was unable to attend. I continued to make my chili occasionally for my family and holiday functions. My instructor at Dynamic Self Defense in New Albany, Ohio cannot get enough of this and requests it often, especially for belt testing at Christmas.

When asked if I would be participating in this years event, I said yes. I make a pretty mean red chili that won 1st at a Limited Brands, chili competition a few years ago, but I prefer to make the green for this event. Having lived in the Southwest for many years, I grew very fond of Southwestern food. A good Chili Relleno and Tacos Al Pastor are two of my favorites. By the way, I placed 3rd in the amateur division this year.

As promised, here is my recipe. I have omitted a few ingredients, but this is delicious just the same. I use pork because it is traditional. You may substitute with chicken however.

IMG_20140821_091706_604I begin by removing the outer husk from about 20 Lg. tomatillos, cutting them in half and placing them face down on a cookie sheet in the oven until slightly blackened. Then I put them in the processor and puree, along with the juice. Put the puree in a crock pot or soup pot. Next I roast, peel, and remove the seeds from  20 Poblano peppers and puree them also. Don’t forget to wear gloves. The peppers and tomatillos do not have to be roasted. You can cut them in small pieces and boil the mixture down. Any green chili will work but I prefer the Poblano. Add 1 Qt chicken broth to the puree. Some of the contestants prefer to use homemade chicken stock but I think it overpowers the pork. Bring this to a low boil and then reduce to simmer.

For the meat, I use 5# of pork stew meat that I trim well. Cut the pork into small 1/2 ” cubes, roll in corn flour and brown. Add in 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 diced jalapeno’s, 5 cloves diced garlic and 1 chopped Lg. white onion. when the onions have softened, add to the chili.                                                                                                                       Next we add the seasonings. 1/2 Tbsp ground cumin, 1/2 Tbsp ground coriander, 1/2 Tbsp ground oregano, 1/2 Tbsp fresh cracked pepper, 1/4 tsp ancho powder, 1/2 tsp chipotle flakes and 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro. If you do not like the slightly sour flavor, try adding some brown sugar. I suggest 1 Tbsp. Add salt to your preference. This needs to cook all day and I let mine simmer for three days before I take it to judging. The flavors change so much over time. It is fun to taste and adjust the finished result. I especially enjoy this over eggs. Huevos Rancheros.

IMG_20140826_075806_491Feel free to use your imagination with this and add additional spice, some serrano for more heat, or even potato. Chili Verde can be a main dish or served as a topping over burritos, eggs, you name it. If you have any questions regarding this recipe or if I have forgotten to explain something, please contact me.

As is most of the food that I eat, this is a healthy recipe that is nutritious!   In fitness, Bob

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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