Posts Tagged: Solano County 4-H Program
Using a grandmother's favorite recipe and all locally grown ingredients, the Four Little PIGS (Pork in Green Sauce) from the Suisun Valley 4-H Club swept the five-team competition at the Solano County 4-H Chili Cook-Off. The event took place at the Solano County 4-H Project Skills Day in the Community Presbyterian Church, Vallejo.
The quartet — Spencer Merodio, 10, Alexis Taliaferro, 11, Natalie Frenkel, 12, and Kate Frenkel, 10 — drew a round of applause as they appeared on stage to accept the award, movie tickets to the Brenden Theatre. It was their first time entering the annual competition.
The Suisun Valley 4-H'ers opted for Spencer's grandmother's recipe, “Chili Verde, aka Pork in Green Sauce,” using cubed pork shoulder, tomatillos, jalapeno peppers, cilantro, garlic cloves and black beans. The condiments: sour cream, cilantro and diced radishes.
“We made it from scratch with vegetables purchased from Larry's Produce in Suisun Valley,” they told the evaluators, Solano County Supervisor Linda Seifert of District 2 and James Luka and his son, Jim, of Vallejo. “Nothing from a can.”
Competition proved keen, as all the dishes were delicious, the evaluators said.
“I could eat any of the five chilis any day of the week,” said James Luka, a retired network administrator for the U.S. and Europe stock market in Illinois.
Son Jim, a maintenance worker at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, agreed. “They all did an amazing job.”
The evaluators praised the flavor and texture of the champion chili, but also the enthusiasm of the presenters and their eagerness to share the recipe and answer questions.
For the occasion, the youths wore special pig costumes. They decorated their long-sleeved pink T-shirts with pig drawings and lettering on both the front and the back. An added touch: little chef hats, complete with pink pig ears.
The members of the championship team are enrolled in their club's food and nutrition project and other projects, including Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) and outdoor adventures.
“They're all close friends and competitive swimmers,” said Spencer's mother, Heather. They swim competitively with SASO of Fairfield-Suisun, which holds practices at Solano Community College.
The other teams competing were:
Chili Peeps of Suisun Valley 4-H Club (Irma Brown, Arianna Henriquez, Enrique Henriquez and Clairese Wright) who made “Chipotle Chicken Chili”
The Chilibaccas of Dixon Ridge 4-H Club (Brayden Gish, Shayley Gish and Maya Prunty) who made “2/2/2 Chili”
Los Verdes of Pleasants Valley 4-H Club, Vacaville (Coleman Ivie, Jaxson Ivie, Kyndal Kelly and Justin Means) who made “Los Verdes Chili”
ExtraVEGANza of the Sherwood Forest 4-H Club, Vallejo (Jarred Burkett, Halle Newell, Megan Torres and Julietta Wynholds) who made “Mama B's Vegan Chili.”
Valerie Williams serves as the Solano County 4-H Youth Development Program representative. Some 500 members are enrolled in Solano County 4-H. For more information on the 4-H program, contact Williams at email@example.com or access the web site at http://cesolano.ucanr.edu/
10 fresh tomatillos (firm, medium sized)
4 jalapeño peppers
2 bunches of cilantro (about 2 cups)
Small garlic clove, peeled
Salt and pepper to taste
6 pounds pork shoulder cubed
Salt and pepper to taste
2 yellow onions
Garlic to taste
Peel and rinse tomatillos. Add tomatillos and jalapeños to sauce pan and cover with water. Bring to a rolling boil and watch for tomatillos to change color. Add garlic and cilantro to a blender followed by tomatillos and peppers from boiling water, reserving water. Blend with up to 1/2 to 3/4 cup water from pan depending on the consistency desired. Set sauce aside. Season cubed pork generously with salt and pepper. Sear meat over high heat and par cook. Sauté onions and garlic until golden and caramelized. Add sauce to pan and scrape pan bottom to release cooked ingredients. Stir in onions, garlic and pork. Simmer for two hours and serve with minced onions, radishes, and cilantro on top, and a warm tortilla as desired.
Crema (sour cream)
Chipotle Chicken Chili
By the Chili Peeps
Suisun Valley 4-H Club
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 whole onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into a small dice
1 bottle (12-ounce bottle) Good Beer
1 can (14-ounce size) diced tomatoes
1 whole chipotle pepper in Adobo sauce, minced (more can be added, up to 3)
1 can (14-ounce size) pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (14-ounce size) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (14-ounce size) kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt, more to taste
1/4 cup masa harina
1 lime, juiced
Condiments, for serving
Grated sharp cheddar cheese
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat then add the onions and garlic. Cook for a few minutes until onions soften. Add the chicken and cook until lightly browned. Add 3/4 of the beer, reserving the rest, then cook for a couple of minutes to reduce.
Add the tomatoes, chipotles, beans, chili powder, cumin and salt. Stir to combine, then cover the pot and cook for 1 hour.
Combine the masa harina with the rest of the beer and stir to make a paste. Add this into the chili, along with the lime juice. Stir and cook for 10 more minutes or until thick.
Serve with sour cream, cheese, cilantro, and another squeeze of lime!
The Chilibaccas Recipe
Dixon Ridge 4-H Club
2 pounds pork shoulder cut in 1/2-inch chunks
2 pounds ground beef
Olive oil (as needed to brown meat)
2 cans of tomatoes (chopped or diced work best)
2 cans of beans (1 kidney and 1 pinto), drained
2 Pasilla peppers
2 Serrano peppers
2 Anaheim peppers
2 green bell peppers
2 cloves garlic
Water (approximately 1 cup)
Seasonings to taste:
In a large stock pot, brown pork in the olive oil. Add in the ground beef and continue cooking over high heat until beef is browned (about 30 minutes). Add the water and seasonings. Cook an additional 30 minutes. Add tomatoes and beans. Turn down the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. While mixture is simmering, coarsely chop onions and peppers and finely chop garlic. Add these to the pot and continue cooking until pork is tender ( about another 30-45 minutes). Check flavor and add seasonings to taste. If needed, thicken chili with cornstarch.
Mama B's Vegan Chili
Sherwood Forest 4-H Club, Vallejo
3/4 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed and drained
3 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 medium eggplant, peeled and diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup bulgur, rinsed
1 medium purple onion, diced
1/2 jalapeño pepper, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground saigon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
1 15-ounce can organic black beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-ounce can organic red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-ounce can organic pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup vegetable broth
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon Ghirardelli cocoa powder, unsweetened
In a large heavy skillet, roast corn kernels over mediumhigh heat, stirring constantly, until beginning to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove and set aside. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet over medium heat and cook eggplant, red bell pepper, and green bell pepper with a pinch of salt until golden, about 10 minutes. Add the bulgur and stir until well combined. Set aside.
In a large saucepan, heat remaining tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute, then add onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in jalapeño, cumin, cinnamon, coriander, paprika, chili powder, salt and pepper. Cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in tomatoes, beans, vegetable broth and lime juice. Bring to a simmer. Simmer 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in corn and eggplant. Add chocolate and stir just until melted. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Los Verdes Chili Recipe
Los Verdes, Pleasants Valley 4-H Club
3 pounds pork shoulder roast
1 pound pork sausage
3 large cans green enchilada sauce
2 cans white beans
2 white onions
3 green bell peppers
2 poblano peppers
1 serrano pepper
2 bunches cilantro
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons cumin
3 tablespoons chicken stock powder
Brown the meat, add spices and sauce, then onions, peppers and cook on medium high in a large pot on the stovetop for about 2 hours or until meat is done. Add corn starch to thicken.
The Four Little PIGS (Pork in Green Sauce) drew applause as the winners of the 2016 Solano County 4-H Chili Contest. From left are Spencer Merodio, Alexis Taliaferro, Natalie Frenkel and Kate Frenkel, all of the Suisun Valley 4-H Club. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Judging the Solano County Chili-Cookoff are evauators (from left) Solano County Supervisor Linda Seifert of District 2 and James Luka and his son, Jim, of Vallejo. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Pleasants Valley 4-H Club member Justin Means (right, in black hat), Vacaville, serves the evaluators with fellow 4-H'ers youths Coleman Ivie (next to him) and Jaxcson Ivie (foreground). The evaluators are (from left) Solano County Supervisor Linda Seifert, James Luka and Jim Luka. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Close-up of the champion chili, Chili Verde, aka Pork in Green Sauce. At right are black beans and at left, condiments. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Not so for those enrolled in the foods and nutrition program in UC Agriculture and Natural Resources' (UC ANR) 4-H Youth Development Program. Youths as young as five learn how to prepare healthy nutritious food.
And yes, they learn how to make desserts, such as special treats for their family and friends at Halloween.
Former Solano County 4-H All-Star Ambassador Julianna Payne was so interested in the foods and nutrition project offered by the Sherwood Forest 4-H Club, Vallejo, she plans a culinary career.
"That's where I found my love of cooking and most especially, baking," said Payne, 19, who just completed her 14th year in 4-H, including 10 years in foods and nutrition.
4-H is administered by UC ANR Cooperative Extension offices in every California county. The program focuses on leadership and life skills.
"I believe that one of the most important life skills a person needs is knowing how to cook for themselves," Julianna said.
Payne, a 2014 high school graduate, is in her second year at Solano Community College, Fairfield. In the spring, she plans to attend an area culinary school to earn her associate degree in baking and pastry.
"During my 10 years in the food and nutrition project, I made so many things I could not even begin to count," she recalled. "I have made savory things like tamales, empanadas, raviolis, and chilis and I have made sweet things like, peppermint bark, pumpkin scones, toffees, and chocolate orange cupcakes."
Julianna, who joined 4-H at age 5, went on to serve as president of her club for three years. Her experience, enthusiasm and commitment to 4-H led to her being selected for the county's highest 4-H honor: Solano County 4-H All-Star Ambassador.
Her mother, Sharon Payne, is a former community leader of the Sherwood Forest 4-H Club and a past president of the Solano County 4-H Leaders' Council.
“4-H is a fantastic youth development organization that teaches youth life skills, leadership and citizenship,” said Sharon Payne, a 13-year 4-H volunteer. “Within their projects, youth can learn about whatever topic that interests them, from foods to computers or animals to robotics. Project work stimulates interests and skills and can introduce youth to careers they may not have otherwise considered.”
Said Valerie Williams, Solano County 4-H Program representative: “The 4-H Youth Development Program has a long history of promoting healthy living among youth and their families. Reconnecting youth to a healthy food system and teaching them how to grow and prepare fresh food is the focus of many 4-H healthy living programs. 4-H adult volunteer leaders provide mentoring to 4-H members, which plays a vital role in helping them select career paths and achieve success.”
As for Julianna Payne, she is continuing to hone her skills. She entered her gluten-free chocolate/orange cupcakes at the recent Solano County Fair, Vallejo and drew rave reviews from the judges, staff and volunteers who sampled the cupcakes.
Soon she will be teaching other 4-H'ers as she herself was taught.
“I plan on giving back to 4-H this year by becoming a project leader myself," Julianna said. "I will be teaching a cupcake project for 5-to-8-year-olds in the Sherwood Forest 4-H Club."
Here's the recipe:
Gluten Free Chocolate Orange Cupcakes with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting, Chocolate Drizzle and Candied Orange Peel
For the Cupcakes:
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons orange zest
1 cup boiling water
1-3/4 cups all-purpose gluten free flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Heat oven to 350°F. Line about 30 muffin cups (2-1/2 inch in diameter) with paper or foil baking cups.
Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil, orange juice, orange zest and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Fill cups 2/3 full with batter.
Bake 22 to 25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool completely in pans on wire rack. Makes about 30 cupcakes.
For the Frosting:
4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon Orange zest
In a large bowl, beat together the butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer. With the mixer on low speed, add the powdered sugar a cup at a time until smooth and creamy. Beat in the vanilla extract the orange juice and orange zest.
For the Garnish:
3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate baking bar
1 cup of water
1 cup of sugar
Melt chocolate in a bowl over a double boiler. Drizzle over cupcakes. Peel the orange and cut into 1/4 inch slices. Boil in water until tender. Drain. Heat sugar and water in pot until dissolved. Simmer orange peels in sugar water for 30 minutes. Set on cooling rack to cool. Once cool, toss in granulated sugar and set as garnish on top of cupcakes. Enjoy.
Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Julianna Payne's cupcakes were a big hit at the Solano County Fair. From left are Gloria Gonzalez, superintendent of McCormack Hall; Julianna Payne; Sharon Payne, assistant superintendent; and Angelica Gonzalez, staff. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey).
Okay, who ate the last piece? Umm, when will you be making more?
Maya Farris, 9, a second-year 4-H'er, may be fairly new to 4-H but she knows how to make a good batch of “Monkey Bread.” A member of the Pleasants Valley 4-H Club in Vacaville, she won a showmanship award at the Solano County 4-H Project Skills Day with her “Monkey Bread” entry and then went on to enter the project—and wow the judges—at the Solano County 4-H Presentation Day.
We watched folks line-up for a sample of her monkey bread at Project Skills Day, and then watched her expertly answer questions from judges at the Presentation Day.
Before we give you the recipe, first, a little bit about Maya. She's one busy 4-H'er. Her current projects are baking and bread making, arts and crafts, rabbits, poultry, goats and crocheting. She learned how to make monkey bread from her baking and breadmaking project. She thoroughly enjoyed the recipe, as did her family and friends.
The Farris family is sold on 4-H. “4-H has really helped Maya become focused and experience different activities that she may not have otherwise tried,” mother Rayita said. “4-H is definitely a family affair; her older sister is also involved in 4-H and in many projects.”
The monkey bread recipe is a five-ingredient recipe, perfect for busy days:
Monkey Bread Recipe
Prepared by Maya Farris,
Pleasants Valley 4-H Club, Vacaville
1 can refrigerated biscuits (16.3 oz)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
Mix sugar and cinnamon in a large ziplock bag and set aside. Cut each biscuit into quarters and place in zip lock bag, a few at a time. Shake to coat and place pieces in a greased 8" loaf pan. Combine melted butter and brown sugar and pour over the coated biscuit pieces. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool 5 minutes, then turn over onto a serving plate. Serve warm.
Meanwhile, what do you know about monkey bread? Actor Robert Duvall couldn't get enough of it. Kids grab it and pull it apart like toys after Christmas. Nancy Reagan served it in the White House. Texan Anne King created a legend.
One of my Texas relatives gifted me with Tom Perini's Texas Cowboy Cooking cookbook which includes Anne King's famous Monkey Bread recipe. Robert Duvall wrote the foreword to the book after enjoying Tom Perini's cooking in between scenes of the Warner Brothers' 1995 movie, “Stars Fell on Henrietta.”
Duvall starred as a destitute wildcat oilman who lands in the town of Henrietta, Texas, during the Depression. Duvall thinks there's oil — aka black gold, Texas tea — on a poor cotton grower's farm. He convinces the farmer to go for broke. Director James Keach filmed the Clint Eastwood-produced movie near Buffalo Gap, Texas, which just happened to be near the Perini Ranch Restaurant.
“After Clint Eastwood and I ate our first meal there, the cast and crew returned for dinner as often as we could,” Duvall writes in the foreword. Guess you could say they took a'likin' to the restaurant. They loved the “good eats,” including Monkey Bread.
Anne King of Albany, Texas, rose to fame (maybe not fortune) with Monkey Bread and shipped it all over the country. It's also called a pull-apart bread or bubble bread because of the layers of dough squares or rolled balls baked together in a tube or bundt pan.
No one really knows how “monkey” became part of the name. Maybe someone was just monkeying around or figured the bread resembled the monkey puzzle tree. Then again, there's a fruit called “monkey bread” from the baobab tree or monkey bread tree. Nancy Reagan helped popularize the odd-sounding bread in the 1980s when she served it in the White House.
Here's Anne King's famous Monkey Bread recipe from Tom Perini's Texas Cowboy Cooking book.
By Anne King
1 cup scalded milk
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup mashed potatoes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
One 1-ounce cake of yeast or 1-1/2 packets of dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
3 eggs, beaten
6 cups flour
1/2 cup butter
Mix together the hot milk and shortening. Add the potatoes, salt and sugar. Set aside to cool to lukewarm. Dissolve the yeast in the water, and add to the potato mixture. Add the beaten eggs. Add 5 cups of the flour, 1 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. Turn out the dough onto a floured board. Sprinkle the dough with 1/3 cup flour. Knead the dough thoroughly, adding a little more flour if the dough is sticky. Place in a greased bowl, cover and let rise for 2 hours.
Melt the butter in a shallow bowl. Roll out the dough on a floured board into a rectangular shape to a thickness of about 1/2-inch. Cut into 2-inch squares. Dip the squares into the melted butter and arrange in the bottom of a tube pan (bundt cake pan). The squares should overlap slightly. Continue to add layers until the dough is used up. Set aside to rise again until double in size, about an hour. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. Loosen the sides of the monkey bread rings with a table knife. Turn out the monkey bread and let guests pull apart the squares to serve themselves. You may bake in smaller pans, just be sure to reduce the cooking time slightly, maybe 15 to 20 minutes. Makes 1 large loaf.
Texas Cooking (www.texascooking.com) offers a version of Monkey Bread with cinnamon. It's shaped into balls instead of squares and is made with cinnamon and pecans. This bread can be mixed in the traditional manner, by hand, or in the dough cycle of your bread machine.
2-1/4 teaspoons (1 package) active dry yeast
4 cups white flour, plus more for kneading if needed
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup warm milk
3/4 cup warm water
3 tablespoons melted butter, divided
1 egg, at room temperature, lightly beaten
1 cup toasted pecans, finely chopped (see Note, below)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2/3 cup light brown sugar
5 tablespoons butter, melted
Lightly grease a 10-inch tube, 9-inch springform or Bundt pan. In a large bowl, combine the yeast, flour, salt and sugar, making a well in the center. In a separate container, stir together the milk, water, 2 tablespoons melted butter and egg. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture, and stir together to form a soft dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic. Place dough in a bowl that has been lightly sprayed with vegetable cooking spray. Brush dough with remaining 1 tablespoon melted butter, and cover with waxed paper or plastic wrap.
Let rise in a warm place for 45 to 60 minutes, or until doubled in size. While bread is rising, mix together the toasted pecans, cinnamon and brown sugar. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently for two minutes. Divide dough into 30 equal pieces. Shape pieces into balls. Dip each ball into the melted butter, then roll in the pecan mixture. Place in prepared pan. Do not pack pieces together, but leave some space between the dough pieces. Sprinkle any remaining pecan mixture and melted butter over the dough pieces. Cover with waxed paper or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes. Bake in a 375 degree preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes. Bread should rise well above the top of the pan and be golden brown. Cool on wire rack.
Second-year 4-H'er Maya Farris, 9, of Vacaville, answers questions about her monkey bread display at the Solano County 4-H Presentation Day. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Making a "super bowl" of chili is also quite timely for Super Bowl Sunday on Feb. 2, when the Denver Broncos try to defeather the Seattle Seahawks.
The Solano County 4-H Program traditionally hosts a chili cookoff at its annual Project Skills Day. All clubs in the county are invited to participate.
This year three boys enrolled in an outdoor cooking project teamed to win the four-way competition, held Jan. 11 at C. A. Jacobs School, Dixon.
Cody Ceremony, Randy Marley and Justin Means, all members of the newly formed Pleasants Valley 4-H Club in Vacaville made “4-Alarm Chili,” obtaining the recipe from Justin's uncle, Chuck Means, engineer with the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District and a co-community leader of the Dixon Ridge 4-H Club. The boys dressed in firefighter uniforms including helmets and turnouts that Means provided.
The outdoor cooking project is a joint endeavor of the Pleasants Valley and Dixon Ridge clubs.
“We simmered the chili for four hours,” Marley said of the recipe which included both pork and beef, plus four types of peppers: pasilla, serrano, anaheim and green bell.
They said it has "a little kick at the end," but not too much. The "heat" can be adjusted, depending on taste.
Judges scored the teams on temperature (it had to be 140 degrees or more), aroma, flavor, texture and freshness, plus a written recipe (neatness), and the overall presentation (table decor and costumes).
Julie Tanaka, a community leader of the Maine Prairie 4-H Club, Dixon, coordinated the event. Judges were Solano County Supervisor John Vasquez Jr. of Vacaville, Ed Coffelt of the Maine Prairie 4-H Club, and longtime 4-H'er Kathy Keatley Garvey of UC Davis/Vacaville.
"The 4-Alarm Chili was very flavorful, and the team understood the combination of ingredients - the blend of the peppers and the blend of the meats," Vasquez said.
"They all put a lot of work into it," the trio of judges agreed.
Also competing were:
- Want Quackers With Your Chili? Vaca Valley: Makenzie Davi, Marissa Davi and Emma Ryder
- Jeans ‘n Beans, Pleasants Valley: Sabrina Brown, Melanie Campilongo, Lillian Tudbury and David Witzel
- The Persim-Monsters, Suisun Valley: Alexis Taliafero, Clairese Wright and Robert Wright
The Quackers' key ingredient was - guess what! - "duck," purchased at a local market. The Persim-Monsters added persimmons to their chili, while the Jeans ‘n Beans team entered a more traditional chili.
Here's the winning recipe:
2 pounds of pork shoulder, cut in 1/2-inch chunks
2 pounds ground beef
Olive oil (as needed to brown meat)
2 cans of tomatoes (chopped or diced work best)
2 cans of beans (one kidney and one pinto), drained
2 pasilla peppers
2 serrano peppers
2 Anaheim peppers
2 green bell peppers
2 cloves garlic
Water (approximately one cup)
Seasonings to taste:
Beef bouillon, chili powder, ground cumin, garlic salt and black pepper.
In a large stock pot, brown pork in the olive oil. Add the ground beef and continue cooking over high heat until beef is browned (about 30 minutes). Add the water and seasonings. Cook an additional 30 minutes. Add tomatoes and beans. Turn down heat and simmer for 30 minutes. While mixture is simmering, coarsely chop onions and peppers and finely chop garlic. Add these to the pot and continue cooking until pork is tender (about another 30 to 35 minutes). Check flavor and add seasonings to taste. If needed, thicken chili with cornstarch.
This recipe, featuring ground duck, got high marks from the judges.
2 to 3 pounds ground duck (the 4-H'ers purchased duck at a local supermarket; beef can be substituted)
1 to 2 large onions, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon dried ground cumin, or to taste
1 tablespoon dried oregano, or to taste
1 tablespoon each of chili powder and cayenne pepper (fresh chile peppers may be substituted)
Coarse salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
3 to 4 cups of a combination of tomato puree, tomato sauce and fresh/diced tomatoes
2-1/2 cans (14.5 ounces) of beef broth, red wine, or water can be substituted for some of the liquid (Additional broth, wine or water can be used, as needed)
1 to 2 tablespoons molasses (This helps cut down the acidity of the tomatoes. Honey may also be substituted)
1 can each of black beans and kidney beans, rinsed and drained
Grated cheddar cheese
Chopped green onions
in a large pot over medium-high heat, sauté ground duck, onion and garlic until meat is browned. Add cumin, oregano, chili powder, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper, tomatoes and beef broth. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, approximately 3 to 4 hours, stirring often. Additional broth, water or red wine may be added as needed.
Add molasses to taste. Add beans and continue to simmer another 30 minutes. Adjust seasonings to taste.
For maximum flavor, cool chili and refrigerate overnight so flavors will mellow. Chili is best made one day ahead to allow the flavors time to meld.
When ready to serve, skim top of solidified fat, reheat over low heat, and serve with cheese sour cream and green onions.
Solano County 4-H Program
Solano County has a total of 500 members in its 12 clubs. Of the seven cities in the county, Dixon has the most, with five clubs.
The clubs are:
Dixon: Dixon Ridge, Maine Prairie, Roving Clovers, Tremont, and Wolfskill
Fairfield-Suisun: Suisun Valley and Westwind
Rio Vista: Rio Vista 4-H Club
Vacaville: Elmira, Vaca Valley, and Pleasants Valley
Vallejo: Sherwood Forest
More information about the Solano County 4-H program is available from Valerie Williams, Solano County 4-H program representative, Solano County Cooperative Extension, at (707) 784-1319 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The website is http://cesolano.ucdavis.edu.
The 4-Alarm Chili Team of the Dixon Ridge 4-H Club and the newly formed Pleasants Valley 4-H Club, watches as judge John Vasquez Jr. samples their dish. From left are Randy Marley, “captain” Cody Ceremony and “driver” Justin Means. In back (at right) is Justin’s uncle, Chuck Means, who provided the recipe and the firefighter uniforms. Chuck Means is an engineer with Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District and a co-community leader of the Dixon Ridge 4-H Club. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Waiting for judges at the Solano County 4-H Chili Cookoff are Team Quackers (from left) Marissa Davi, Kylie Walker, Emma Ryder and Makenzie Davi, all of the Vaca Valley 4-H Club, Vacaville. Judges praised their chili, which featured duck. For the occasion, they crafted duck hats. They were among four teams competing. The winner: the 4-Alarm Chili, the work of Cody Ceremony, Randy Marley and Justin Means of Dixon Ridge 4-H Club/Pleasants Valley 4-H Club.