B'nai Sholom

Reform Congregation

Albany, NY

Yom Rivii, 28 Iyyar 5777

Chilipalooza a Rousing Success!

    The wonderful scent of bubbling chili heightened the sense of anticipation as competitors and tasters alike streamed into the social hall on Saturday evening, January 31, for the Fundraising Committee’s ever-popular Chilipalooza, B’nai Sholom’s chili competition.

    Cornbread and desserts, chips and fixings, colorful tablecloths and decorated entries, and a children’s area complete with crayons, added to the festivities. New this year: Shmaltz Brewing Company offered beer tastings. Host Fabio Ritmo offered four of Schmaltz’ “He’brews,” an addition to the evening that proved extremely popular, adding to the good times.

    Some 50 people couldn’t wait to start tasting and judging 15 crockpots of chili, including turkey chili, vegetarian entries, and  “Confederate chili,” complete with a history of Jews fighting for the South. People were asked to pick five chilis they wanted to see in the second round of judging. All the chilis were excellent, so scores were very close. Five came out on top, and went to the second round: Deb Adler, Lois Gordon, Brian and Francine Sinkoff, Don Sklar, and Richard Strassberg. For the second round of tasting, people voted for their choice of first, second, and third place chili. Again, the scoring was very close. Third place went to Richard Strassberg for his vegetarian chili; second place went to Don Sklar and his Confederate chili, and first place went to Deb Adler.

    A special award was given to Ethan Goldberg who made a dessert chili, with chocolate pudding as the chili, coconut as the shredded cheese, and other delectable toppings.

    Congratulations and thanks to all who entered this year’s contest! It was a fun and filling evening! Thanks again to Shmaltz Brewing Company for their participation.

    The Fundraising Committee is also pleased to recognize that this year there were five vegetarian entries, which means there will be a separate category (and prizes!) next years. So next year, eaters will judge meat and vegetarian chilis separately.

    Deb Adler was happy to share her winning recipe (and promises never to enter the competition again):

BLACK AND WHITE AND RED CHILI

•    5+ lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, well-trimmed, cut into bite-sized dice
•    5 onions, diced
•    1 head of garlic, smashed and chopped
•    4 chopped red bell peppers
•    2 of those little cans of chopped green mild chiles
•    3 whole jalapeños, seeded and chopped up fine
•    2 T. cumin
•    2 T. cilantro
•    2 T.  chili powder
•    3 T. oregano
•    2 T. powdered celery, or celery salt
•    2 T. cocoa powder, preferably Ghirardelli
•    2 T.  adobo
•    2 T. coriander
•    1 T. dried OR 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley ground black pepper
•    1/4-1 tsp. dried red chili flakes
•    2 T. cider vinegar
•    1 1lb. dried black, soaked overnight then cooked, OR four cans black beans
•    about a cup of chicken broth
•    NO ADDITIONAL SALT UNTIL THE VERY END!!!!

Sauté the chicken in several batches in a few tablespoons of neutral oil until it starts to brown. Place in crock pot. Sauté the onion and garlic until softened but not browned. Add the seasonings (except for the cocoa) and sauté  a few minutes more, gently. Add green chiles and black beans and broth and and cocoa powder, and diced red peppers. Place in a crock pot and cook for 8 hours (more or less) on low.

Tastes better if made the day before, allowed to cool overnight, and then reheated for the contest.

Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve with chili garlic sauce on the side.