Gorgeous, cool, sunny day in mid-October. Listening to great music by Gorilla Swing. What could be better than a great chili cook-off? Maybe, the Cardinals making it to the World Series? Well, the setting was in St. Louis at the Town and Country Whole Foods Market after all. Maybe it was the celebration of the spectacular fall day, the Cardinals winning or the chili; at any rate Saturday made for a great day and a huge crowd. It was our pleasure from RCR to be on the judging side of the table rather than the competition.
Whole Foods Market held their 3rd annual Chili Cook-Off where the team members dream up and prepare their recipes. This is a creative group to say the least and they certainly can do some unique chili recipes. Each contestant group of team members from different departments represented a local charity. The two winners received $500 each for their charity
Rain Crow Ranch/ Whisnant Family Farms and Feast Magazine sponsored the event. We were privileged to serve as judges along with Pat Eby, food writer for Feast Magazine, and Tammy Wildman, the Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce.
Just though I might include some of the chili recipes for you here.
The Judges Choice winner was South City Pork Steak Chili prepared by the Meat Team and their partner charity Habitat for Humanity.
South City Pork Steak Chili
1 lb Rain Crow Ranch ground grass-fed beef
2 links chorizo (10oz)
1 lb boneless pork steak
2 green peppers
1 white onion
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 bunch cilantro
1 tbs cumin
1 tbs chili powder
1 tbs salt
1 tbs black pepper
1 can organic diced tomatoes
1 can organic northern beans
1 can organic tomato sauce
12 oz Urban Chestnut Zwickel beer
Remove chorizo from casing and cut into ½ inch cubes. Mix the chorizo with the beef, pork, chili powder, and cumin. Sauté on medium heat for 7 minutes until browned. Drain any oil and in the same pan add peppers, onion, and garlic cooking till soft. Reduce the heat and add the beer. Cook down the beer for 5 minutes then add the beans, cooked meat, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, salt, pepper and cilantro. Cook for 2 hours on low heat.
The Peoples Choice Winner was The Whole Body Team with Cocoa, Sausage Chili and their partner charity Bird Sanctuary.
Cocoa, Sausage Chili
2 lb Rain Crow Ranch ground beef
1 lb sweet Italian sausage
8 oz hot Italian sausage
½ cup olive oil
3 c yellow onions, chopped
3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
2 green bell peppers, seeded and chopped
2 tbs minced garlic cloves, peeled and minced
3 tbs chili powder
2 tbs ground cumin
3 tbs dried oregano
1 tbs paprika
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cardamom
3 tbs ground unsweetened cocoa powder
6 c canned tomatoes
½ c tequila
12 oz beer
In a large pot sauté the onions in the oil until soft. Add the peppers and garlic and continue to sauté for about 10 minutes. Add all the spices and the cocoa, stirring to mix all ingredients. Remove from heat.
In another large pan, brown the meats, breaking up any large pieces. Cook until all pink is gone. Add the meat to the vegetable mixture and continue to cook at medium heat. Stir in the tomatoes with their juices, the tequila, and the beer. Simmer for at least an hour. Serve in a bowl with a slice of fresh lime to squeeze over the chili. Add salt to taste. Of course, the chili only gets better if served the next day when the spices have really settled in.