Chili fest heats up Pat's Peak
On Sunday, from 1 to 5 p.m., the cool slopes of Pat's Peak Ski Area will heat up with pots of chili made by local restaurants, organizations, and individuals who will compete for bragging rights, cash prizes and even some big donations to favorite charities.
Fire on the Mountain is about more than just good chili. There's a concert featuring Jeff Dearborn and Chain Drive Wallet, a midway where kids can play games, a classic car show, and lots of vendors. Because it's the 10th anniversary of the event, Chili Fest Chairman Jim Walsh said, there will be special commemorative beer glasses, magnets and T-shirts for sale as well.
But the centerpiece of the event is definitely the chili. The contest has two categories: amateur for individuals and organizations, and professional for restaurants. Winners in the amateur competition walk away with a cash prize, while the professionals earn money for their favorite charities.
Organizer Ruth Zax said the contests don't put limits on what goes in the chili, giving people freedom to play with ingredients.
“It's all about the creativity of the cook,” said Zax. And the recipes have gotten pretty creative over the last 10 years.
“We've had scallop and lobster chili, moose meat chili, even a chocolate chili,” said Zax. “There are sweet chilis, hot chilis, and some burning hot chilis.”
Traditional chilis, with or without beans and at varying degrees of heat, still maintain their place in the competition, but there are plenty of variations including chicken chili and white chilis. What hasn't made an appearance until this year is a green chili, or chili verde, said Zax, but one of the nearly 30 entrants will be breaking that trend on Sunday.
For more information visit www.chilinewhampshire.org.
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Leftover Chili Hot Pocket
Courtesy of Mike Morin
1 Pepperidge Farm puff pastry sheet
1 cup leftover chili, warmed
1/4 cup chopped onions
1/4 cup shredded cheese
1 egg white, beaten
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Follow package directions to thaw dough. When dough is still cold but pliable, flatten the sheet on a counter dusted with flour. Cut the sheet into 4 equally-sized portions and separate carefully. Finish your assembly while dough is cold.
Put about one-quarter cup or a bit more leftover chili and optional ingredients onto the center of the pastry. Leave an equal amount of space about all around the border. Using a pastry brush or your fingers, brush the outer border with the egg white. Gently fold the top part over the chili toward you and secure it to the part of the pastry nearest you. After softly tamping the three sides together, use a fork to crimp the sides together. Cut two slits in the top of the dough, then egg wash the entire exposed surface.
Put on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake about 20 minutes or until light brown and fully risen.
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