Not content with cleansing my palate with water between servings, I brought a couple of mini bottles of scotch, which greatly amused my pastor, one of the other judges. I poured a mini bottle into a glass of water, and swished dutifully before and after each small tasting I was served. I then filled out my ballot, which had numerous categories (spiciness, balance of flavors, texture, &c.).
The thing is, Dr. SWMBO was not supposed to have entered anything. She had made a batch of vegetarian chili for her own self, knowing that if she didn't provide a veggie entree, no one would. But someone noticed her crock pot in a corner, unlabeled, and entered it into the competition.
It won first place.
And there were lots of great entries.
So here is her recipe, stolen from her blog post:
Anyhow, in one recent post I mentioned my internationally famous (eaten and appreciated by folks from the US, the Netherlands & Haiti), Prize-winning (1st prize in the 2001 Haiti Hoedown Chili Cookoff, 2nd place in 2002) Vegetarian Chili recipe.
Here’s the recipe, as I sent it out after the 1st cookoff. (If I can ever make the picture upload feature work, Iʻll post a "Before" picture of the ingredients.)
Subject: Haiti Hoe-Down Chili recipe, as best as I can reconstruct it
Date: Sat, 22 Sep 2001 22:12:29 -0400
I’m sending this recipe to [Izzy] to pass along to folks who might be interested. I will say that I am floored at having won a chili cook-off without using meat!-- but my strategy of bribing the judges must have been successful.
All measurements are incredibly inaccurate and approximate. I was in a bit of a hurry and mostly dumped in spices and ingredients until things looked right. Just like you cannot step into the same river twice, you can probably never make the same pot of chili twice--there will never be the same combination of left-overs and ingredients in the kitchen. [Note: this might look a bit green owing to the broccoli and the colors imparted by the curries and turmeric.]
Sauté together in 2 Tbsp. Extra-virgin Olive Oil until onions are tender:
- 1/3 cup minced garlic
- 2 large onions, finely chopped
- Sprinkle over these 3-4 Tbsp. Boston Kitchen brand Cajun Seasoning
- 28 oz can Progresso tomato puree
- ~1/2 cup mild salsa (Taco Bell brand, left-over from Taco Bell taco-kit.)
- 2 15 oz. cans El Ebro Frijoles Negros (Black beans, available from Mexican stores)
Cook in large pan or Dutch oven in 1-2 Tbsp. Olive oil until well-heated:
- 3/4 cup finely shredded carrots (or any amount left-over in freezer)
- 16 oz. package frozen chopped broccoli (make sure to chop it small if all you have are just broccoli "pieces". You want the broccoli nearly unrecognizable.)
- 6 thawed and crumbled Garden Burgers (***I’ve now tried the meatless crumbles. Tasty, but they don’t soak up the liquid as well.)
- 3 Tbsp. Mild Indian Curry Powder
- ~4 Tbsp. Hot Madras Curry Powder
- 1-2 Tbsp. Ground Turmeric
- 2 Tbsp. oregano
- 2-3 Tbsp. Valle del Sol (Whole Foods brand) Chile Powder (***Chipotle powder wasn't readily available when I made my first batches of this. It’s an OK substitute, but far less is needed for "general audiences".)
- 1/3 cup raw minced garlic-added at the last minute (***just before serving or driving to the chili cookoff) to minimize the time the garlic gets cooked.
(Note from bitter experience: If you make it ahead of time, don’t leave chili cooking in the Crockpot over 6 hours--it can get a burnt taste.
***2010 Update: It’s OK to leave in a large crockpot, especially one with a "warm" setting, versus an older, smaller pot with only High and Medium settings.)
Serves 5 judges (1 Dixie cup each) and a line-full of Haiti Hoe-Downers. I don’t know if it freezes well, since there weren’t any left-overs.
Recipe (c) House of Chez Casa, Durham, NC, 2001.