I had a great time yesterday at the chili cook-off that Gina Hyams sponsored to celebrate her new "cookbook in a box" project. Jeremy Stanton graciously offered to host it at The Meat Market. For me the big draw of the cook-off was that the proceeds were donated to the Share the Bounty program of Berkshire Grown. It's a wonderful project that makes contributions to CSAs whose shares are then donated to WIC participants or food kitchens.
About 15 (?) of us who competed for "best chili," and I'm sorry to say I didn't make the cut. But what fun it was to be up against such terrific competitors! Most of the entries featured some sort of meat, but there were some meat-free chilis, too.
I dug out a Very Old recipe for Seafood Chili that we used to eat at Hosteria Fiorella on Third Avenue back in the day. It was such a popular dish that eventually the recipe was published in New York magazine. I clipped it out , filed it away, and probably didn't make it in the next 25 years. But when I heard that Gina was doing a chili cook-off, it was the first idea that popped into my mind.
Since I hadn't made it in so long, I prepared a batch a few weeks ago for friends to taste. They pronounced it "the best" and asssured me I'd win the contest. Well, they were wrong. At least about the winning part. Because it is really delicious.
If you want to treat yourself, family and friends to a great dish, here's the recipe:
3 slices pancetta, roughly chopped
10 T evo
1 c finely diced yellow onion
10 cloves garlic, crushed
3 fresh chili peppers, seeded and thinly sliced
3/4 c white wine
Approximately 6 oz each fresh chicken and turkey link sausage, precooked for 7 minuutes, and then cut into 1/2" slices
3 c chopped tomatoes
2 c plus 6 T canned tomato sauce
2 1/2 c canned Great Northern white beans, drained
3/4 lb fish fillet (such as flounder), cut in small cubes
3/4 lb calamari, cut in rings
30 littleneck clams, minced
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
2-3 t cumin powder
salt to taste
2 T cracked black pepper
4 T each chopped parsley and basil
6 T chopped cilantro
In large pot, saute pancetta in olive oil until crisp. Add onion, garlic, and chili peppers, and cook until tender. Deglaze pan with wine, then add sausage, tomatoes, tomato sauce, and beans, and simmer over medium heat, stirring often, for 10 minutes
Add fish, calamari, clams and shrimp. Season with cumin, salt and pepper, and cook, stirring for about 10 minutes. Stir in fresh herbs and cook for 1 minute longer.