Chili Cook-Off Judges’ Choice Winner – Team CousCous!
We had a blast at the 8th Annual Charitable Chili Cook-Off! Thank you to our emcee Ji Suk Yi and all of our judges, contestants, attendees, sponsors, volunteers, and staff who helped make this fundraiser a tasty success.This year’s winners were Dwight and Katie Jambor of Team CousCous! They wowed judges David Eigenberg (NBC’s Chicago Fire), Doug Sohn (Hot Doug’s), Val Capone (Chicago Red Hots), and Diane Honeyman (Windy City Cafe) with their Chili Von Awesome-O. The Arts of Life chatted with Dwight to learn more about Team CousCous and what made their chili so awesome-o. The recipe is below for you to enjoy at home!The Arts of Life: What is your team’s culinary background?Dwight: We really don’t have one. Prior to meeting my now wife almost 4 years ago, I was just a bachelor, living like an animal. I only started cooking after we met, and it turned out that I liked it and was pretty good at it too, so I’ve been cheffing ever since. I’ve always loved chili, so when it came to making my own, I just went for the flavors and textures that I knew I liked. My wife loves my chili, but I knew bias was a factor so I just wanted to see how it would fair in competition and I thought I would give a chili cook-off a whirl.The Arts of Life: How did you find out about the Chili Cook-Off?Dwight: I just happened upon it when I was buying tickets for the downtown Chili Fest. I think the link for the Arts of Life cook-off was right below it, and when I saw that it was an open competition, that’s when the idea of entering popped into my head. I entered out of curiosity, and then as the date got closer I found myself really wanting to win the giant spoon, and now huzzah, it’s in our dining room!The Arts of Life: How did you come up with your team and recipe names?Dwight: Team Couscous is just a silly term of endearment my wife and I use when we refer to each other, so when we had to pick a team name, other ideas weren’t even considered. Chili Von Awesome-O just seemed like a cool name. When I was serving chili to one of the guests I overheard him say, “oh this is German chili.” I didn’t correct him. It isn’t German. I just thought it was funny.Chili Von Awesome-O Recipe (Serving Size: 4 Gallons)Ingredients3 pounds Ground Turkey 4 pounds Pork Short Rib 1 pounds Bacon, diced3 Onions, diced8-10 cloves Garlic, minced5 Red Peppers, diced2 Green Peppers, diced2 Yellow Peppers , diced6 Jalapenos, diced6 Serrano Peppers, diced2 (frozen 10oz. packages) Sweet Corn 2 (6oz. cans) Tomato Paste 6 (8oz. cans) Tomato Sauce 6 (8oz cans) Mexican Salsa 6 (14.5oz. cans) Fire Roasted Tomatoes 6 (4oz. cans) Green Chiles6 to 8 cups Chicken Broth 3 (29oz. cans) Red Kidney Beans 4 (15.5oz cans) Black Beans 6 tablespoons Chili Powder6 tablespoons Cumin 1.5 teaspoons Ground Thyme3 tablespoons Sugar3 teaspoons Salt3 teaspoons Pepper MethodCook ground turkey and diced pork short rib, and remove from pan once brownedCook bacon in dutch ovenAdd onion and saute in bacon fatAdd garlicAdd red, green, yellow, serrano, and jalapeno peppers and saute until softAdd chili powder, cumin, sugar, ground thyme, salt and pepperAdd tomato sauce, tomato paste, mexican salsa, green chiles, fire roasted tomatoes, and chicken brothAdd beans, and cornAdd browned meat back into the potBring to boil, then lower heat and let simmerDevour!