I learned plenty yesterday from this lot right here. These six represent the two semi-finalist teams in the kids’ chili cook-off at the Stampede – I was lucky enough to act as judge yesterday. It was a tough decision.
I missed out on taking an actual photo of the food, being in my Official judge’s role and all, but it was mighty tasty – smoky and hot and loaded with beans – it always interests me, as a carnivore, how often the vegetarian version of a chili wins at a cook-off. (This isn’t the first I’ve judged.)
Although it was very tasty, the heat kind of leapt up and smacked us right in the tongue straight off the bat, so if you’re a wuss like me, consider dialing down the chipotles by about half. And I’d personally swap the green pepper for any other colour (red, yellow, orange), but that’s just me. (I don’t understand the point of a green pepper. Is all that bitterness worth the financial savings? I think not.) And of course all chilis taste better after a day or two in the fridge (or a long simmer in the slow cooker), so it’s great to make ahead and feed a crowd.
An important note: the winning team added a secret ingredient to the following recipe – chopped green onions. Yum.
Smoky Vegetarian Chili
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1 can (28 oz/796 mL) diced tomatoes
3 cans (19 oz/540 mL each) mixed beans, rinsed and drained
2 tbsp chopped canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
Salt and freshly ground pepper
In a Dutch oven, saute carrots, onion, bell peppers and garlic in oil until tender, about 7 minutes. Add chili powder and cumin; cook and stir 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, beans and chipotle peppers.
Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture is slightly thickened, about 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serves 8.
And the bread. When I see the quantity of cheese and butter and garlic I understand why it blew me away. It’s exactly the sort of melty-cheesy, buttery, carb-heavy thing I would marry, if it were human.
1 1/3 cups coarsely chopped bocconcini cheese
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1 loaf french bread, halved lengthwise
In a food processor, combine cheese, butter, rosemary, garlic, pepper and salt. Process until smooth. Wrap bread halves individually in heavy duty foil, leaving cut side open. Spread cheese mixture over cut side of bread halves.
Heat bread over low heat directly on grid or on warming rack on natural gas barbecue for 15 to 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and bread is golden around edges. Slice bread and serve.