The Arts of Life and Half Acre Brewery's Chili Cook-Off: The Winning Recipe

By Rob Christopher in Arts & Entertainment on Nov 10, 2009 6:00PM

Lots of money was raised for Arts of Life and a great time was had by all last Saturday at Half Acre Brewery's Charitable Chili Cook-Off. Over 200 people attended, 20 chili entries were judged, and almost $2,500 was raised. And in the end, a winner was chosen by the members of the jury (which included yours truly): the Tomatillo Chili cooked up by the team of Erin and Elena from The Kids' Table. Possessing a healthy amount of heat and a glowing green color, it was definitely one of the most individualistic entries in the competition. They've graciously passed the recipe on to us (after the jump), so now you can make it yourself. Enjoy!

Special thanks to Friend of Chicagoist Avi Schwab for sharing his photos. Check out the entire set on Flickr here.

Vegetarian Tomatillo Chili
makes about 2 quarts

8 medium tomatillos
2 jalapenos, seeds removed
2 ½ cups vegetable stock, divided
3 cans white beans (Great Northern, Cannellini, Navy, etc.)
1 T canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 T cumin
1 T chili powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 cup fresh corn kernels (about 4 ears of corn)
3 large poblano peppers, roasted and chopped*
2 small cans white hominy, drained and rinsed
Salt, to taste

Garnishes:
Fresh cilantro, chopped
Shredded Chihuahua cheese
Greek-style yogurt (or sour cream)

1. Remove the husks, rinse and quarter the tomatillos. Place in a blender or food processor with the jalapenos and ½ cup of the vegetable stock. Blend until smooth. Add one can of beans (with liquid!) and process until smooth. Set aside.

2. In a large saucepan or stockpot heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté for 4 minutes, or until soft and fragrant. Add the cumin, chili powder and oregano and cook for 2 more minutes.

3. Pour the tomatillo-bean mixture into the pot. Mix in the remaining 2 cans of beans (with liquid!), corn, poblano peppers, hominy and remaining 2 cups vegetable stock. Bring mixture to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Adjust seasoning and serve with desired garnishes.

*If you have a gas stove, roast the peppers over a high flame, turning with tongs to char all sides. Place in a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap for 5-10 minutes to loosen the skins. Peel off the charred skins, but DO NOT RINSE under water.