Tuesday, February 08, 2005

The Chili King Cookoff

I hinted yesterday that we were going to hold a chili cookoff at work. It's one of two informal affairs the cooks hold annually in my kitchen -- chili in the spring and ribs sometime in the fall.

This cookoff was about nine months late. My staff held our last cookoff -- a rib and BBQ sauce cookoff -- in November 2003 while was recovering from surgery. The event and all the good natured ribbing that goes with it (like, "What brand of spaghetti sauce did you use in that chili?") is designed as a morale booster for staff.

Four contestants each submitted pots of chili. Since we really don't have any rules (other that it must be chili, whatever that means), the chili cooks presented four distinct variants on the pot of red. One pot featured beans. The others were saucy affairs with a vibrant spiciness about them.

Here's a recap:

Dish #1 -- Heavy reliance of tomato product. The chili was made with chuck and hot links. Very spicy and very good (except for the tomato, in my opinion).

Dish #2 -- Thickened with a roux at the last minute. The only pot made with beans. Could have been spicier. One-third ground pork was used with the ground beef.

Dish #3 -- Saucy and spicy. The chili was thickened with masa. Unfortunately, you could taste it.

Dish #4 -- Made with Italian sausage and beer. It had a distinct wheat flavor. The sauce wasn't held together that well.

So, where did my dish fall, you ask? I prepared the thick chili with piquinto beans (yes, I'm the guy who broke ICS' no beans edict). My pot could have been spicier, as one judge told me after the event.

I'm a little gun-shy in the spiciness department. My wife -- bless her heart -- has scolded me too many times for dumping an excess of black pepper and good Hungarian paprika on the fried potatoes.

Oh ... I came in second. The title holder -- a shift supervisor -- earned the right to don the "Chili King" cap for the next year. It's his third title.

Now onto ribs ...

No comments:

Post a Comment