If you recall the previous prelude in Chocolate Confessions, I took my experimental culinary pursuits to the Brooklyn Chocolate Experiment this weekend! And what an experience it was – 24 talented amateur teams showcasing their best culinary chops, 6 impressive & intimidating big-name judges, and 1 experimental chef (that’s me!) tasting the experience of cooking for 300 for the very 1st time!
My sous chef and I were fired up for this challenge for weeks, but alas at the 11th hour, Brian was hit with a nasty cold and banned from getting anywhere near my food. But as they say, “The show must go on”, so I chopped, diced, sauteed, simmered, baked…and called in for reinforcements! My awesome baby brother, along with 3 lovely ladies, came through on my last minute request, driving in from New Jersey to carry my dishes to Brooklyn, then working furiously behind the counter as I fed 300 hungry chocoholics and presented my creation (with a very shaky hand) to the judges.
So to cut all the suspense…dum dum DUM…I did not end up winning (insert your “awwws” here). But to be 85% honest, win/loss does not matter 😉 I saw this mainly as a fun opportunity to push my limits with a challenge. I was actually more upset that my partner/sous chef was not there to lose (I mean “experience”) with me! Nonetheless, I had tons of great friends who came to cheer me on, and many wonderful strangers stopping by for 2nds (and 3rds!) and telling me how much they enjoy my dish. I think I had some executional issues with the dish, but I’m just getting warmed up here; you can be sure that I’ll be back with my newly acquired experience and pearls of wisdom!
I promise you a full recap with pics of all the delicious decadent dishes, but to tide you over I present you the recipe for my entry: “Cornfed Chocolate Chili Casserole“!!
For the Chili:
- 2 tomatoes, diced (or 14oz can of diced tomatos) – with all the juices
- 1 can of pinto beans, not drained
- 1/2 onion, finely chopped
- 1-2 bell peppers, finely chopped
- 1/2 pkg of portabella mushrooms, sliced thin
- 1-2 cups of corn
- 6 oz of shredded cheese (cheddar, monterey jack, or pepperjack)
- 2 oz/half a bar of Decadent Dark Chocolate (I used a 83% cacao)
- 1 jalapeno, sliced
- chili pepper flakes
- cayenne pepper
- salt & pepper to taste
For the Cornbread:
Get ready for Chocolatey Savory + Sweet
- In a pan, saute the onions in a little butter + a little salt & pepper until cooked. Add the bell peppers and saute for a couple more minutes.
- Transfer the onions and pepper into a pot. Add in mushrooms, tomatoes, beans, corn, jalapenos and bring to a boil.
- Bring back to a simmer and slowly add in chili powder, cayenne, paprika, cumin, salt & pepper to taste. Consistency should be pretty thick.
- Slowly stir in the dark chocolate until melted in.
- In a separate frying pan, melt the stick of butter for the cornbread. Slowly whisk in milk, eggs, agave nectar. Remove from heat.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, cornmeal, salt, baking soda, cocoa powder. Add the wet ingredients into the mixing bowl and mix well.
- In a 9X13 pan, layer in the Chili on the bottom, cheese in the middle, and pour the cornbread mixture on top.
- Bake at 375 for around 30-45 minutes until cornbread is fully cooked