At New York-themed San Francisco bar Ace's, in the Tenderloin, they always ring in the Sunday before the Super Bowl with a chili cook-off, at least for the last ten years. "It started out because this was the quietest weekend of the year," says owner Scott Broccoli. "There's no football game on, and I was just trying to get some more bodies into the bar."
Ten years on, the annual chili competition has many fans in the neighborhood, and this year Broccoli decided to invite some professional chefs to participate alongside some of the regulars who throw down with their chili-making expertise. The resulting ten chilis last Sunday were surprisingly varied I was asked to be a judge and the scoring methodical. Contestants were judged on flavor, texture of the meat, consistency of the batch, aroma, color, spice, and balance.
The runners up were chef Spencer O'Meara of The Pub in Ghirardelli Square for a delicious, rich pot of chili; and in second place, Charles Gedeon, an Aces regular who's competed here before, for a deeply spiced, almost mole-like chili.
And the winners this year were Jen Passetti and Mike Calza of Elmira Rosticceria (154 McAllister Street) whose complex, well balanced, beautifully spiced chili stood out from the pack in no small part due to the fact that it was the only one that used all green chiles as a base.
For your potential Super Bowl eating pleasure, I bring you their recipe.
Calza's Green Chili
5 lbs. pork butt, cut in 3/4 inch cubes
4 yellow onions, diced
8 cloves of garlic, minced
18 Anaheim peppers
5 Pasilla peppers
6 Serrano chiles, seeded and diced
6 Jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced
3 lbs. tomatillos
1 tall can of Bud Light
1 tablespoon coriander
2 tablespoons Mexican oregano
2 tablespoons cumin
1. Preheat over to 400 degrees.
2. Roast Anaheim and Pasilla Peppers for 20 minutes, roast tomatillos also for 20 minutes.
Once they've cooled off, seed and peel the peppers.
3. Sautée onions, garlic, jalapenos and serranos in a large pot. Remove them, and brown the pork in the same pot. Once browned, remove pork and deglaze the pot with the whole can of beer.
4. In a blender, quickly puree roasted peppers and tomatillos. Add all ingredients back to the pot and simmer for three hours. Season with salt to taste.