Friday, February 20, 2015

Hill Country Chili Cook-Off This Saturday, Feb. 21st 1-3pm

Mark, Alex, and I are headed over to Hill Country Barbecue Market tomorrow for their Second Annual Chili Cook-Off. We'll be defending our first place finish from last year! If you are in the DC area and enjoy delicious chili, drinking beer in the afternoon, and having it all benefit a great cause (Microgreens) then come on out tomorrow, Saturday Feb. 21st from 1-3pm to Hill Country in Gallery Place at 410 Seventh Street NW. Your $10 donation at the door gets you tasting tickets for all of the chili competitors (they were amazing last year) and you get the chance to vote for your favorite - impartially of course. I hope to see you all there!

In some highly comical news, even though I have a face for radio and a voice for herding cats, the very nice people over at Newschannel 8's Let's Talk Live invited me to make chili and talk about the event on Saturday.
Needless to say, I won't be quitting my day job any time soon, but it was a fun morning. Chef Farber and the whole Hill Country crew were great and I'm looking forward to seeing everyone again at the contest this weekend. I was very nervous, but at least I had a cute apron (thanks dad!). They even put up the chili recipe. It is very easy to make, but it would just be easier to come over this Saturday 'cause I'm making it for you!
It was fun to see a little shout out to Corcoran Street! Best block in DC!! Best roomies in the world - Kelaine and Lizzie!!!!
But it just wasn't the same without my team members, Mark and Alex, rocking their aprons and making our team so beautiful. You eat with your eyes after all. Never fear, DC - they'll be with me on Saturday!
And just for's my post about the event last year!

I entered the Hill Country Chili Cook Off this weekend and...I won first place!!  So exciting.  I think it was due in equal parts to the fun chili and the gorgeous Alex and Mark in their revealing aprons.  Thanks for the Bard-deWolf bump, fellas!  All of the competitors had amazing chili.  I should know because I scarfed down so much.  We all had a blast and can't wait to defend our title next year!  Here's the recipe I used.

Chipotle Pumpkin Chicken Chili
1 lb. ground chicken
1 onion
1 bell pepper (whatever color you like)
4 chipotle peppers in adobo
1 can sweet corn
1 can cannelini or navy beans
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can pumpkin puree
1 Tbs. sugar
1 beer (I usually use a lager, but I'm not above a PBR or a taste of the Rockies)
1 carton low sodium chicken stock
1/2 lime
salt and pepper
canola oil
Garnish:  Sour Cream, Monterrey Jack Cheese, diced avocado, crumbled Fritos, Lime Wedges, Chopped Cilantro
1.  Heat 2 Tbs. oil in a large, heavy bottom pot over medium high heat and add the chicken.  Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper and brown for 4-5 minutes.

2.  Chop onion and pepper and add to the chicken.  Sprinkle again with salt and pepper and continue to cook for another 3-4 minutes.
 (I made 5x the recipe for the competition and I STILL ran out in then end.  Oh well)

3.  Add the diced tomatoes with their juice and the drained corn and beans.  Stir until well distributed.

4.  Finely dice 4 chipotles (more if you are daring) and add them to the chili along with the beer and stock. and another sprinkle of salt.

5.  Add the can of pumpkin puree and sugar and stir until distributed into the chili.

6.  Bring it to a boil and turn down the heat to a simmer and allow to simmer for 45 minutes until the chili thickens and is totally delicious.  Taste and add more salt/sugar if needed.
(We could "plate" the chili for the judges and this was my "plating."  Things were too hectic and I didn't take a picture there, but the Hill Country people did, so I'll update when I have one.  So cute!)

7.  Add the juice of 1/2 a lime at the end for freshness and serve with your favorite garish.

One Year Ago: Whiskey Balsamic Steak
Two Years Ago: Orange Curry Cous Cous
Three Years Ago: Cheddar Dill Scones

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