Recipes for success

By on February 20, 2014

ABC’s chili recipe won the popular vote at last Saturday’s big cook-off. The local restaurant and brewery also won Bruce Morgan’s Hot Off The Press Award. Photo by Melissa Hunnefield

ABC’s chili recipe won the popular vote at last Saturday’s big cook-off. The local restaurant and brewery also won Bruce Morgan’s Hot Off The Press Award. Photo by Melissa Hunnefield

With 25 different kinds of chili at the ninth annual Fire & Ice Festival, you might expect to find some chocolate – Wilbur, of course – and lots of beef, pork and chicken.

But kangaroo?

Yes, indeed.

The chef for the Warwick Warriors Midget Football League visited the land down under with his meaty, peppery, smoky chili, thanks to the Savory Gourmet of Lititz, which provided the exotic game meat for his recipe.

“We wanted to use something different, and kangaroo certainly fits the bill,” said chef Chris Enck.

So, it was Australian rules on Saturday for this crew of football fans. Enck even dressed in an outback outfit – straw hat and khaki green shirt. Adding to the theme was music by Men at Work, whose hit “Down Under” is an ‘80s pop standard.

Volunteers at the stand even had an Aussie kangaroo mascot, a cardboard cutout who was happy to not be the chili pot. He seemed to be smiling.

At the end of the day, this kangaroo creation caught the attention of Fire & Ice founder Dawn Rissmiller, who gave it the Founders Award.

“I had no idea it was kangaroo,” said Rissmiller. “I just liked it.”

Kangaroo wasn’t the only game in town last Saturday. The green chili prepared by chef Tom Burk for H&R Block to benefit House of His Creation featured spicy green chiles and tomatillos, and venison.

While Burk went green, many others leaned toward the deep dark shade of chocolate, thanks to real Wilbur Chocolate. At Moravian Manor’s stand, the chili was even topped with a Wilbur Bud. The chef was Dennis Rakers, who used Wilbur chocolate, Yuengling beer ands coffee to add a smooth richness to his meaty chili, which was for the benefit of the Lititz recCenter.

Chocolate was also a key ingredient in Pork & Wally’s award-winning chili. Chef Mark Wolownik selected Brandywine Bittersweet chocolate for his rich concoction made with house-smoked pork.

“It’s the perfect complement,” said Wolownik, adding that Pork & Wally’s chili was benefiting Hospice of Lancaster County.

It was the favorite of judge Todd Rucci, the former NFL football player for the New England Patriots who now serves as vice president of the Warwick School Board. His trophy was the No Chili Left Behind Award.

There was also chocolate in the Brethren Village’s deep, dark chili, made by chefs Jeanne Greenig and James Carr. It was an especially smoky batch with beef chuck and jalapeno peppers, topped off with a refreshing dollop of cilantro lime creme. This chili benefited the Good Samaritan fund at Brethren Village.

At the Young Men’s Business League’s table, double chocolate stout from the Bulls Head Public House gave their recipe its chocolaty brewed backdrop. Benefiting Venture Lititz, the chili was the creation of eight “chefs” – yes, eight.

“It might have been a case of too many chefs in the kitchen,” joked Grant Hummer, one of the cooks.

He reported that each of the eight chefs made their own batch of the YMBL chili, using the same recipe. Then it was all mixed together for one big batch. The chefs included Hummer, Steve Seeber, Bill Binzen, Eric DiGiacomo, Matt Easler, Gary Garber, Charlie Shirk and Glenn Knight.

While some chilis had super secret ingredients or unexpected twists, others relied on a great theme. Like the Jamaican Bobsled Team.

“We were trying to come up with a theme,” said Thomas Hodges who created the Ya Makin’ Jamaican Chili with Jeni Laser. “And the Olympics seemed perfect.” This team from the Occupational Development Center even made their own Jamaican bobsled and dressed up in helmets for pictures. With its Caribbean jerk flavor, the spicy, beefy chili was just right for a snowy winter day.

But at the end of the day, Appalachian Brewing Company was the crowd favorite. They took the People’s Choice Award and The Hot Off the Press Award from Bruce Morgan of the Lititz Record Express. Their recipe of beef, pork, chipotle and beer benefits Lititz Meals on Wheels.

The team collecting the most donations for their charity was Lititz United Methodist Church, raising $1,300 for the Appalachia Service Project. Their classic chili created by chef Paul Dohner used chuck roast, hot peppers and a sweet heat dry rub from the Eastern Shore.

The Five-Alarm Award from judge Mike Michael of the Lititz Fire Company went to Heart of Lancaster Medical Center for their chili by chefs Bob Moore and Michael Parido, made with sirloin and Sam Adams. The chili benefited March for Babies.

The Editor’s Choice by Barb Hough Roda of Lancaster Newspapers went to Melissa Graybill’s chicken tequila lime chili from Vigi’s Parties, which was also the most spirited team, cheering for their charity, the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition.

The Lives Changed Award was given by judge David Ashcraft to Scooter’s and the Manheim Township LEOS for their creamy white chicken chili with jalapenos.

Judge Chris Poje presented the It’s Showtime Award to Lititz United Methodist Church.

It’s wasn’t easy being to judge, admitted Rucci, who liked several of the chilis he sampled. And there were plenty of contenders.

Choice Windows and Doors had a chili with ground beef and hot and sweet sausage for Tail to Tell. JoBoy’s smoked white chicken chili was created by Dwayne Spencer, while Sharon and Jim Landis of Zest! made a white chicken chili with zesty lime and smoked serrano chili powder. Texas Roadhouse had a meaty chili with sirloin, ribeye and filet. The Lititz VFW whipped up a Cajun chicken chili with andouille sausage. Then there was Luther Acres’s classic with ground beef and cumin; chili with beef, mushrooms and butter from the Vet 21 Salute; Woodridge Pool’s medium spicy pulled pork chili; Crossfire Singles Ministry’s chicken chili with beans and carrots; and Dosie Dough’s Atomic Java chili with brisket, beans and coffee.

That’s a lot of chili for one article!

“We were very pleased with all the different kinds of chili we had and all the participation, even on a snowy day,” said emcee Mark Hough.

Laurie Knowles Callanan, a veteran freelance writer, got her start in the newspaper business when she was hired as a general assignment reporter by former Record Express owner Bob Campbell.

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