‘V’ for victory!

By on September 30, 2015

 

Venison, vermouth are the keys to championship chili

What makes a great chili?

Should it be spicy or smoky or packed with flavor? Should it be be made with chicken breast, chicken thighs, ground turkey, beef brisket, chuck roast or venison? What about those secret, unexpected ingredients, like coffee, chocolate, anchovies and vermouth?

At the third annual Chili Cook-Off at the Sept. 27 Rothsville Polo match, nine contenders vied for best chili, and they were voted on by the people who know chili best — the people.

“I like a chili with something extra,” said Julie Jones, pointing out that her favorite chili was made by Karen Fogarty, and had venison with a sweet vermouth that added that something extra.

James Tully and Scott Grote agreed, as well as Joey Mullinenaux, who liked the flavor of the vermouth, which added a wine-like touch to the deep red sauce.

Annelise Reinhart was partial to the chicken chili made by the Hiram Rhodes Revels Society, because it had just the right zip to it. Interestingly, her second favorite was the ultra smoky and spicy chili made by Mark Stickler, who used beef brisket.

Joni Watts (left) and Karen Fogarty were all smiles. Karen’s chili won first place. The recipe contained venison with a sweet vermouth. (Photo by Laura Knowles)

Joni Watts (left) and Karen Fogarty were all smiles. Karen’s chili won first place. The recipe contained venison with a sweet vermouth. (Photo by Laura Knowles)

 

“I needed lots of sour cream to cool the heat,” admitted Reinhart, noting that Stickler’s chili made her eyes water at first bite, but she loved the smoky flavor imparted by the peppers and spices.

Dave Groscup and his daughters Sarah and Kristen liked the turkey chili with Caribbean jerk seasoning, because it wasn’t too hot or too mild, but it was just right.

“It had a nice smokiness, but didn’t set your mouth on fire,” said Groscup.

Eleni Weisser of Philadelphia headed to Rothsville to escape the crowds that had descended on the city for the Pope’s visit. She made Philly chili, and when people asked her why she called it that, she quickly responded, “Because I’m from Philly.”

Jack Yohn and Everett Hoover’s chili was a complex blend of beef chuck roast with kidney beans, anchovies, coffee, chocolate, tomato and dried peppers. Somehow it all worked for a slightly smoky, richly flavorful chili.

 

Brothers Ed (left) and Bob LeMin Sr. Bob’s 92nd birthday was Sept. 26, and they celebrated Sunday at the polo grounds.

Brothers Ed (left) and Bob LeMin Sr. Bob’s 92nd birthday was Sept. 26, and they celebrated Sunday at the polo grounds.

 

Jeanette Lamson put her own healthy spin on white turkey chili by adding lots of fresh vegetables, mushrooms and mild seasonings. As she pointed out, “I came up with this recipe to get my kids to eat their vegetables.”

There were two kinds of chili made by the Hiram Rhodes Revels Society. One was chicken chili with chicken thighs and roasted peppers. The other was a more traditional chili made with healthy ground turkey instead of beef. Both used fresh peppers and tomatoes from the garden.

Stickler’s mouth-and-eye-watering chili was made with beef brisket and took 24 hours to simmer to full flavor. The smoked brisket took 18 hours. He even made his own fresh tortilla chips with lime zest salt.

“You might need some extra sour cream with that,” said Stickler. “It’s got some smoke and spice to it.”

As organizer Jaca Spangler noted, “I think we have just the right number of contenders. It’s always a fun day for the Chili Cook-Off. And it’s all for a good cause.”

Kelly and Rick Herr, Al Peinhardt and Beatrice Bowman wowed the crowd when they showed up in a 1959 wood rose pink Cadillac.

Kelly and Rick Herr, Al Peinhardt and Beatrice Bowman wowed the crowd when they showed up in a 1959 wood rose pink Cadillac.

 

When everyone had had a taste, and the judges tallied their scores, the winners were announced as follows: First Place – Karen Fogarty; Second Place -Jack Yohn and Everett Hoover; and Third Place – Mark Stickler.

The chili tasting and voting tickets were $5, with proceeds going toward the Schreiber Pediatric Rehabilitation Center of Lancaster.

Remembering Bella

It was a bittersweet day at the Sept. 27 Rothsville polo match. Near the announcer’s booth, on the grass, the name “Bella” was spelled out in white polo balls.

Annelise Reinhart’s eyes filled with tears as she talked about Bella, the 20-year-old polo pony who died unexpectedly last Sunday at the polo match, just after the second chukker. It is suspected that the beloved pony suffered an aneurysm.

“Bella was Nick’s favorite horse,” related Reinhart. “She was something special.”

Nick is her son, Nick Vidal, whose father is Juan Vidal, the champion polo player from Argentina. Bella had been a gift from Calvin Byler, and according to Reinhart, Bella had some very unique qualities as a polo pony.

 

Nick Vidal with his favorite pony, Bella, who died during a match on Sept. 20. (Photo provided by Lancaster Polo Club)

Nick Vidal with his favorite pony, Bella, who died during a match on Sept. 20. (Photo provided by Lancaster Polo Club)

 

“She was calm, yet she had spunk. She wanted to run. You never had to push her,” said Reinhart.

As Vidal added, Bella loved to play polo and when she died, she was doing what she loved. Still, he was heartbroken to lose the pony who meant so much to him.

“Bella had what we call human eyes, with a bit of the white showing,” said Reinhart. “You could look into her soul. She had kind eyes.”

Laura Knowles is a freelance feature writer and regular contributor to the Record Express. She welcomes reader feedback at lknowles21@gmail.com.

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